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Although it is difficult to define play and to carry out empirical research on it, it is widely regarded as important for human life, development, and education. Ancient, premodern, Enlightenment, modern, and postmodern philosophers have sought to illuminate its meaning and purpose. Moreover, educational, psychological, and social theorists remain active in delineating and explicating different positions concerning the relationship between play and education. Much work has also been done on the design and implementation of practical ways to use play to foster students’ well-being and learning; nevertheless, play’s role in schooling is contested. Scientifically, play’s slippery definitions hamper research and evaluation; ideologically, play’s reputation and illusiveness invite criticism, and there is opposition to play-related innovations and interventions in education. Philosophical inquiry, conceptual analysis, and empirical ...

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