Saturday, 10 January 2009

Chess Quote - John Fowles on Chess, Rules & Freedom


Fowles, John (1926-2005):
"Chess permits freedom of permutations within a framework of set rules and prescribed movements. Because a chess player cannot move absolutely as he likes, either in terms of the rules or in terms of the exigencies of the particular game, has he no freedom of move? The separate games of chess I play with existence has different rules from your and every other game; the only similarity is that each of our games always has rules. The gifts, inherited and acquired, that are special to me are the rules of the game; and the situation I am in at any given moment is the situation of the game. My freedom is the choice of action and the power of enactment I have within the rules and situation of the game."
- (John Fowles, 1964, The Aristos)
John Robert Fowles (19262005) was an English novelist and essayist. His first work was the novel The Collector (1963), followed by a book containing a non-fiction collection of philosophy entitled The Aristos: A Self-Portrait and Ideas (1964).


Aristos Covers - 1980 - 1993 - 2001:

In Aristos John Fowles sets out his ideas on life, taking inspiration from Heraclitus (the 5th century BC philosopher). The Aristos was seen as the supreme good, an ideal of human freedom, in an over-conforming, materialistic unfree world. Many subjects are covered in this book including, God, christianity, socialism, existentialism, humanism, materialism, technology, art and sex. It was Fowles' wish that people think for themselves, and reject "intellectual consumerism".

Subsequent novels included The Magus (1965), and The French Lieutenant's Woman (1969). The French Lieutenant's Woman (film) was adapted into a screenplay by Harold Pinter, and released in 1981.

Philosophy and Chess - Philosopher Chess Player-Writers



Below is a list of philosophers who have either been active chess players or discussed chess in their philosophical writings. The list is by no means complete, and will be updated as further philosophers come to mind.

Ayer, Alfred (1910-1989)

Bacon, Sir Francis (1561-1626)


Dennett, Daniel C
(1942- )

Dreyfuss, Hubert (1929- )

Fowles, John (1926-2005) ... link

Gödel, Kurt (1906-1978)


Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von (1749-1832)


Hume, David (1711-1776)


Kierkegaard, Soren (1813-1855) ... link

MacIntyre, Alasdair ... (external link)

Mill, John Stuart (1806-1873)


Peirce, Charles (1839-1914)


Pirsig, Robert M. (1928-)
... link

Pigliucci, Massimo (1964-)


Robin, Richard Shale


Rousseau, Jean-Jacques (1712-1778)


Russell, Bertrand (1872-1970)


Santayana, George (1863-1952)


Sartre, Jean-Paul (1905-1980)

Schiller, Johann Friedrich (1759-1805)

Vallicella, William F. (Maverick Philosopher)

Voltaire (1694-1778)


Wittgenstein, Ludwig (1889-1951)



And some notable amateur philosophers:
If anyone knows of any other philosophers who should be on this list, I would like to hear from you.