Sport, Philosophy, and Good Lives

Sport, Philosophy, and Good Lives

Sport, Philosophy, and Good Lives

Sport, Philosophy, and Good Lives

Synopsis

There's more to sports than the ethos of competition, entertainment, and commercialism expressed in popular media and discourse. Sport, Philosophy, and Good Lives discusses sport in the context of several traditional philosophical questions, including: What is a good human life and how does sport factor into it? To whom do we look for ethical guidance? What makes human activities or projects meaningful? Randolph Feezell examines these questions along with other relevant topics in the philosophy of sport such as the contribution of play to a meaningful life, the various reasons for pessimistic views of sport, the various claims that celebrated athletes are role models, and the seldom-questioned view that coaches are in a position to offer advice to athletes on how to live or on leadership skills. He also discusses the way that non-Western attitudes found in Buddhism, Taoism, and the Bhagavad Gita might be used to address the vulnerabilities of sports participants.

Feezell draws from current sports issues, popular literature, and contemporary sports figures to shed light on the attraction and value of sports and examine the accompanying ethical issues.

Excerpt

This book discusses sport in the context of some traditional philosophical questions. What is a good human life? To whom do we look for ethical guidance? What is the meaning of life? (What is a meaningful life? What makes human activities or projects meaningful?) These are big questions that have been important in the history of philosophy. I first considered referring to “sport and big questions” in the title, since the notions of good lives, ethical guidance, and meaning are central in the book. I came to see that a reference to good lives was the unifying motif, and even the issue of meaning in life could be understood to be part of a larger reflection about how to live well, what are the constituents of good human lives, and how sport might fit into the picture. Also, whereas the consideration of the ethics of swearing, for example, might seem to be a puzzling addition to a book about sport and “big questions,” the arguments involved in considering whether we ought to cuss, inside and outside of sports, involve issues about how best to live.

In relation to these unifying questions and issues, some of the specific topics in the book are less surprising than others. When thinking about the attraction and value of sports, some have empha-

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