The paper is a critical analysis of Hubert Schwyzer’s idea of meta-institutional concepts. First, I isolate a presupposition in Schwyzer’s example of chess as ritual. I then show how Schwyzer’s idea of meta-institutional concepts is far from being the endgame in the research on levels of institutionality. In fact, we can iterate on meta-institutional concepts. Schwyzer’s idea has to face an infinite regress. I try to avoid such a regress by introducing the concept of technical end of game. A game defines its own terminal status. People playing the game can then attach different meanings to this norm-dependent terminal status. Hence, meta-institutional concepts are not conditions of possibility: they belong to pragmatics, not to an extra ontological layer. I conclude the paper sketching a classification of games based on different kinds of technical ends and I advocate the need to adopt a pluralistic conception on games and practices.
The paper is a critical analysis of Hubert Schwyzer’s idea of meta-institutional concepts. The chief example of a meta-institutional concept is that of winning in a game. Games are different and have different rules. Nonetheless, they share the concept of victory that is present in most rulebooks. As Roversi (2014) says, we use the same word to say “I won at chess” and “I won at bridge”, but it will be (pragmatically) odd for us to reply “Yeah, I won, too, yesterday at bridge” to a friend that says “Yesterday I won at chess”.
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