Ethics and Sport

Ethics and Sport

Ethics and Sport

Ethics and Sport


The issues surrounding ethical controversies in sport have filled the media recently. This book of invited original essays by mainstream philosophers as well as philosophers of sport will provide the reader with a discussion in ethics and sport based on a sound philosophical footing. Part one includes essays which focus on the basis of sport as an activity that is inherently ethical. Part two concerns the nature of the oft-heard but seldom-clarified notion of fair play. Three essays are included which articulate substantively different interpretations of the concept all of which have different allegiances in ethical theory and practical consequences. Part three deals with ethical questions in physical education and coaching, and Part four, on contemporary issues, includes essays which focus on topics such as violence, conflict and deception. This book is accessible to a wide range of teachers and students in the field of sport and leisure studies. Contributions from international, highly regarded experts in the field to provide the reader with the systematic treatment of the ethics in sport from a diverse perspective.


Jim Parry

This collection of essays began life as a subset of the papers presented at a conference on Philosophical Issues in Sport and Physical Education organized by Mike McNamee at Duffryn House, Vale of Glamorgan, on 17th-19th March 1995. in addition, some essays were solicited in order to produce a more coherent set, organized in four sections, which attempts to illuminate the contribution of philosophical ethics to our understanding of contemporary sport.

Part ONE:

Ethics and Sport - The contribution of philosophy

The collection opens with Graham McFee's provocative denial of his title question: are there philosophical issues with respect to sport (other than ethical ones)? His challenge is whether we can identify a distinctive set of philosophical issues or problems concerning sport, which alone would justify the claim that there is such a thing as a 'philosophy of sport'.

Enquiries into the concept of 'sport' won't count as such an issue since, in addition to their dullness, they properly belong in the philosophy of understanding. Any issue that can be similarly 'kicked upstairs' into an established branch of philosophy is not 'genuinely addressing philosophical issues for sport', since sporting cases are simply taken as examples of conclusions argued for elsewhere. Whilst there are legitimate philosophical interests in sports ethics, dance aesthetics and physical education, none of these constitutes a 'philosophy of sport'.

Whereas McFee doubts the possibility of a philosophy of sport, Scott Kretchmar (Chapter 2) argues its necessity: 'soft metaphysics' is an essential prerequisite of ethical decision-making. Drawing on the characterization of sport that he has refined over 20 years ('from test to contest'), he outlines a conception of the meaning and significance of sport with reference to its 'setting'. Only such an account, he claims, can show us both how to be ethical in sports and games, and why we should be ethical at all.

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