Una leggerezza originaria. Helmuth Plessner e il concetto di Spiel


  • Matteo Pagan Scuola Normale Superiore




play, life, philosophical anthropology, expressivity, actor


The aim of this article is to evaluate the role that the concept of Spiel plays in Helmuth Plessner’s thought, both in his philosophical anthropology – in which, as is well known, the actor plays a leading role – and in his philosophy of life. The “victory of play over seriousness”, which Plessner stresses in his review of Buytendijk’s Wesen und Sinn des Spiels (1933), will be taken into account not only within the framework of his description of organic life, but also within the framework of his social philosophy, as it is presentend in The Limits of Community (1924). Thus, in a first step, the convergence between the “originary lightness” that characterise organic life and the “ethos of grace and lightness” with which Plessner describes society in the text of 1924 will be highlighted. In a second moment, the analysis of the essay Der Mensch im Spiel (1967) will show why, according to Plessner, the human being is compelled to play. In conclusion, the particular human capacity to play with distance, which the German philosopher emphasises above all in the essays dedicated to the actor (1948) and the smile (1950), will be addressed.