Chess, Imagination and Perceptual Understanding
Paul Coates (University of Hertfordshire)

March 2, 2012, 5:45pm - 5:45pm
Royal Institute of Philosophy

14 Gordon Square
United Kingdom

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Paul Coates is professor of philosophy at the University of Hertfordshire and is well known for his work in metaphysics and epistemology.  He is currently directing a major AHRC project on phenomenal qualities.  To conclude our series on philosophy and sport, Paul is going to speak about the imaginative abilities involved in chess, which along with intense competitiveness, may have something in common with what is involved in physical sports.

Abstract:  Like many physical sports, chess can be highly competitive. To play chess effectively requires mastery of a number of different skills. In particular it requires a special kind of imaginative ability, one that is allied to perception. In this talk I examine the role of the imagination in the way that human chess players (as contrasted with computers) exercise their understanding of both tactics and strategy. I conclude by showing why there are important parallels between our grasp of the possibilities latent in a chess position, and our perceptual understanding of the nature of physical objects.

All of the Royal Institute’s talks are free and open to the public.

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