Sports: A Reference Guide and Critical Commentary, 1980-1999

By Donald L. Deardorff II | Go to book overview

7
Sport: Philosophy and Religion

Sport's intersection with philosophy and religion prompts some of the most provocative and important questions for sports scholars. Athletes, coaches, and academics have always questioned why we participate in sports, why we value sport, and what sport means to countries, towns, schools, and individuals. Still, the formal study of the philosophy of sport is a relatively recent development. Johan Huizinga's Homo Ludens: A Study of the Play Element in Culture (1960), Roger Callois's Man, Play and Games (1961), and Howard Slusher's Man, Sport and Existence: A Critical Analysis (1967) laid the original groundwork in the field and opened the doors for current sport philosophers. Those interested in discussions of these and other early works in the philosophy of sport should consult Jack Higgs's Sports: A Reference Guide, which expertly profiles the works that defined the field until 1980. This chapter will profile the major concerns of scholars of sport philosophy over the last two decades, concentrating on metaphysical questions such as why and how we play and what play means to us, ethical questions that examine how sport affects character development and a participant's ability to deal with ethical dilemmas presented within the sporting context, and aesthetic questions dealing with sport's relationship to art and the ramifications of this relationship for players and spectators. Another area of interest for academics has been the impact of political ideology on sport philosophy, especially the differences in athletic philosophies of authoritarian and democratic governments. Also important is the branch of philosophy known as ontology, which concerns itself with how humanity's spiritual dimensions are played out in the context of sport. Indeed, an important part of any discussion of the philosophy of sport must be the close ties shared between religion and sport, a topic that has always been important for athletes. It is rare, indeed, that we do not see some athlete engage in a religious ritual before or during a big game. Pregame prayer, superstitious routines, and postgame tributes to God are par for the course in contemporary athletics. This

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Sports: A Reference Guide and Critical Commentary, 1980-1999
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • Introduction ix
  • 1: Sport and American History 1
  • 2: Sport: Business and Law 27
  • 3: Sport and Education 57
  • 4: Sport: Ethnicity and Race 97
  • 5: Sport and Gender 115
  • 6: Sport and Literature 137
  • 7: Sport: Philosophy and Religion 163
  • 8: Sport and Popular Culture 193
  • 9: Sport and Psychology 213
  • 10: Sport: Science and Technology 245
  • 11: Sport and Sociology 273
  • 12: Sport and World History 297
  • Appendix 1 - Important Events in American Sports: 1980–2000 325
  • Appendix 2 - Halls of Fame, Libraries, Museums, Periodicals, and Web Sites 335
  • Index 343
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