Play, Virtue, and Well-Being: Is Consumerist Play a Bad Habit?
The concept and activity of play has been a recurring theme in ethics and moral philosophy, particularly in the normative theories of natural law and virtue ethics. This paper explores the moral dimensions of consumerist play–forms of play in which objects or means of play are designed to be purchased and consumed–from the perspective of virtue ethics. The paper will test out a hypothesis that consumerist play leads to bad habits of playing and thus hampers or is detrimental to human well-being. As a whole, the chapter intends to provide justification to support the argument that we have genuine grounds for concern that a person whose play is predominately an engagement in consumerist play is likely to fail to grasp the meaning and nature of play and thus fail to appropriately fulfil its function in their attempts at playing. Like a person in the grip of greed, who takes wealth as an end rather than a means, a person in the vice-like grip of consumerist play is likely to take the point of play as a means or object to be consumed rather than to engage in a free exploration of identity, re-creation, and renewal within the context of human well-being.
KeywordsVirtue Ethic Moral Dimension Human Function Consumerist Culture Human Play
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