Theses Doctoral

Play, for Grace: A Study of the Significance of Play in Education

Zhang, Qifan

The central question of my dissertation is “How can we play for our wellbeing?” followed by sub-questions, including “Why is play important to human-being?” “How shall we characterize the notion of play?” “How could play benefit philosophy, art, and education?” I investigate the questions through philosophical research that draws upon the existing literature in the fields of Hermeneutics, Cosmopolitanism, and the philosophies of education about play, philosophy, and education.

I argue that play is a joyful aspect of experience that can potentially teach us an aesthetic manner of embracing differences and possibilities, especially concerning our individual growth and engagement in social interactions. To show this, I propose that play orients the player into seeing, thinking, and being differently towards a larger harmony or a fuller being. The player will be driven to respect others and accommodate differences with wonder and hospitality. Meantime, the educative play with its playful spirit can enhance the culture of justice and beauty essential to building a healthy, peaceful, and sustainable human inhabitation.


  • thumnail for Zhang_columbia_0054D_17115.pdf Zhang_columbia_0054D_17115.pdf application/pdf 1.59 MB Download File

More About This Work

Academic Units
Philosophy and Education
Thesis Advisors
Hansen, David
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
April 13, 2022