Questions of Athletic Excellence and Justice in Sport

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Adam Berg, AP Assistant Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
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Abstract: This essay delineates and analyzes two kinds of questions that sport ethicists tend to ask: (1) questions about athletic excellence and (2) questions about justice. To pass ethical judgements when delving into questions concerning athletic excellence, sportspeople rely largely on a sport’s internal values, primary skills, or sport-specific athletic excellences. In contrast, questions about justice do not and should not include the reference or application of principles derived from the nature of a sport. Instead, sportspeople must refer to general theories, most often based on the rights and obligations of fellow citizens. There are multiple benefits to pointing out this distinction. First, it can help sportspeople and sport philosophers recognize the normative standards most appropriate within specific debates. Second, the distinction may explain why some disputes in sport philosophy remained unresolved. Finally, and perhaps most significantly, an awareness of the differences between these types of questions enables us to pose a further query. To which of the two discourses about sport ethics should sport philosophers lend the majority of their efforts? By adopting Susan Okin’s analysis of the role of morality in families, this paper suggests that questions about justice in sport carry greater moral import and should be resolved prior to questions of athletic excellence.

Additional Information

Sport, Ethics and Philosophy 12, 2 (2018): 292-303
Language: English
Date: 2017
Ethics, athletic excellence, justice, broad internalism

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