Tuesday, September 13, 2005
A tentative answer
There is, arguably, a third factor, namely a desire to succeed at the game. My own inclination is to treat this as a consequence of the conjunction of the first two factors, but whatever. In any case, what counts as success is determined by the rules and so binding oneself to those rules makes available justificatory resources for treating success as a good.
A consequence of this is that there appears to be a point of view from which the conditions for success are arbitrary. Someone who does not know the rules of the game (or, perhaps it will be enough that they are not committed to those rules) will see no point in game-players doing one thing rather than another.
This marks a distinction with playing the trombone. For while there are certain choices made within that activity which are arbitrary in the relevant sense, the robust reality of the trombone dictates that certain other choices must be made in particular ways if one is to play the trombone at all. For example, one must place the mouth piece to one's lips, rather than positioning the bell on one's head like a hat.