New Masters in Sports Ethics and Integrity

At the Penn State Sports Ethics conference, Mike McNamee mentioned a new Masters program that looks really exciting.

Bringing together scholars and experts from several European universities and international sporting federations, the degree says it will prepare students for careers in the administration and governance of sports organizations.

At the conference Mike discussed the need for sport organizations to have what he called “Sport Integrity Officers.” This degree sounds like a step towards creating that career and training the people to fill those positions.

Check out the Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degree in Sports Ethics and Integrity website for more information (including the possibility of scholarships).

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IAPS 2017 CFA Deadline Extended

I just saw that the deadline for abstract submission for IAPS 2017 is now April 21, 2017. I am sure this is a much welcomed reprieve for those, like me, who haven’t quite finished their abstract proposal yet.

Here’s the updated CFA from an email to SPORTSPHIL:


Call for Papers

International Association for the Philosophy of Sport Conference

September 6-9, 2017 at Whistler, British Columbia, CANADA

The International Association for the Philosophy of Sport invites the submission of abstracts to be considered for presentation at the 45th annual IAPS meeting and essays for the 2017 R. Scott Kretchmar Student Essay Award. The conference will be held September 6-9, 2017 in Whistler, BC, Canada, hosted by John Russell of Langara College. The conference website, http://langara.ca/departments/philosophy/iaps-conference.html, will be live by mid-April.

Abstracts are welcome on any area of philosophy of sport (broadly construed), including metaphysics, epistemology, aesthetics, and ethics, and from any theoretical approach, including analytic philosophy and critical theory. While IAPS recognizes, values, and encourages interdisciplinary approaches and methodologies, acceptance is contingent on the philosophical content of the project. Emerging scholars are encouraged to submit works in progress. See Abstract Guidelines below for instructions.

Deadline for abstract submission is April 21, 2017. A Program Committee of three IAPS peers will blind review abstracts. Contributors will be notified about the status of their abstracts by May 12, 2017.

Proposals for round table and panel discussions, including a tentative list of participants, are also welcome and should be directed towards the IAPS Conference Chair, Pam Sailors at pamelasailors@missouristate.edu.

About IAPS

The International Association for the Philosophy of Sport (IAPS) is committed to stimulate, encourage, and promote research, scholarship, and teaching in the philosophy of sport and related practices. It publishes the Journal of the Philosophy of Sport, which is widely acknowledged as the most respected medium for communicating contemporary philosophic thought with regard to sport. IAPS members are found all over the world and constitute a growing and vibrant international community of scholars and teachers. More information on IAPS can be found at www.iaps.net.

2017 R. Scott Kretchmar Student Essay Award

IAPS is proud to announce the sixth edition of the “R. Scott Kretchmar Student Essay Award.” Interested undergraduate and graduate students who will be presenting their paper at the conference should submit a full paper by April 15, 2017 (in addition to an abstract, both through Easy Chair, see below).  A separate announcement is posted at the IAPS website. The selected winner shall present their paper and receive the award at the annual IAPS conference.

Conference Requirements

All conference presenters shall register for and attend the conference to have their paper included on the conference program. Presenters must also be members of IAPS (either student or full). New members may register for IAPS membership at the following www.iaps.net/join-iaps/

Abstract Guidelines

IAPS will be using the “Easy Chair” conference management system. Submitted abstracts should be 300-500 words long, in English, and must be received by April 21, 2017. Abstracts MUST include:

  • A brief summary of a philosophical research topic
  • Keywords (three to five)
  • At least three references to relevant scholarly publications that contextualize the topic.

Submission Instructions

To submit an abstract, go to https://easychair.org/conferences/?conf=iaps2017 . New users for Easy Chair must create an individual account login. Please complete the submission information and upload your abstract.

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Filed under Conferences, IAPS

Blog of the APA: Golf as Meaningful Play

I was interviewed about the International Association for the Philosophy of Sport’s session at the APA Central Division Meeting in March 2017 in Kansas City. The session, as readers of the blog are probably aware, was an Author Meets Critics on Golf As Meaningful Play: A Philosophical Guide (forthcoming) by W. Thomas Schmid (University of North Carolina at Wilmington).

You can read the Blog of the APA interview here.

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Filed under APA, Books, Conferences, Golf, play

CFA IAPS 2017 Update

Important update to the IAPS conference location. The IAPS Executive has voted to move the 2017 conference from Starkville, Mississippi to Whistler, British Columbia Canada. (more on why here).

There is an updated call for papers, though the dates are the same (Sept 6-9, 2017) and the deadline for abstract submissions remains March 31, 2017.

Hope to see you there!

 

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IAPS at APA: Golf as Meaningful Play

This year’s IAPS session at the Central APA meeting in Kansas City, MO is Author Meets Critics: Golf as Meaningful Play: A Philosophy and Guide by W. Thomas Schmid.  This book is part of the Lexington Book Studies in Philosophy of Sport Series. It is in production and should be out soon.

Time: Saturday, March 4: 12:15–2:15 p.m

Topic: Author Meets Critics: Golf as Meaningful Play: A Philosophy and Guide by W. Thomas Schmid.

Chair: Shawn E. Klein (Arizona State University)

Critics:

  • Seth Bordner (University of Alabama)
  • Francisco Javier Lopez Frias (Pennsylvania State University)
  • Pamela Sailors (Missouri State University)

Response:

  • W. Thomas Schmid (University of North Carolina at Wilmington)

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Filed under APA, Books, Golf, IAPS, Philosophy

CFP: Fantasy Sports Panel

This interesting looking call for a panel at the American Studies Association Annual Meeting (Chicago, November 9-12, 2017) came my way, so I’m passing it on:

The Humanities on Fantasy Sports

From humble beginnings, fantasy sports have grown into a cultural phenomenon in which more than 57 million North Americans now participate. Given their immense popularity, however, the scholarly attention dedicated to them remains modest by comparison, particularly in the humanities. The vast majority of research done on fantasy sports derives from the social sciences and generally focuses on legal, economic, and sports management issues. This panel seeks to expand the parameters of fantasy sports scholarship, to give scholars within the humanities an opportunity to intervene in current debates on the subject and to generate their own. It is an attempt to open previously unexplored avenues for fantasy sports research that will broaden the philosophical, theoretical, cultural and intercultural, geographical, historical, and/or disciplinary scope of the field. To this end, I seek contributions on the intersection of fantasy sports and philosophy, critical theory, history, rhetorical theory, cultural studies, game studies, and/or literature. I am especially interested in abstracts that address issues of internationalization, unconventional gameplay, uncommon fantasy sports, philosophical and theoretical approaches, alternative genealogies, community and communities, and ethics. All abstracts with a clear relationship to the humanities will be strongly considered.

If you would like your work to be considered for this panel, please send 300-word abstracts to Andrew J. Ploeg at aploeg@bilkent.edu.tr by Sunday, January 29th, 2017.  If you have any questions, feel free to email.

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Crash Course: Games

There’s a sweet spot at the end of the day between not being quite focused and energized enough for reading but still not quite ready to shut down for some mindless TV. I fill this some days by watching things like TedEd on YouTube. Recently, I came across John Green’s Crash Course channel: a wide-ranging short format educational video series. (Side note on Green: he writes bestselling books especially beloved by teenage girls, he is the leader of Nerdfighters, and is a huge Liverpool fan. A man of many talents and interests.)

I started watching Crash Course’s series on Games hosted by Andre Meadows.  Its primary focus is on video games, but the introductory course starts with the question of “what is a game?” As a philosopher, I was really curious how they would approach this.

Meadows starts where many would start: the dictionary. I don’t like starting there. Dictionaries are great for capturing usage, but that’s not the same as defining the concept (see my introduction of Defining Sport for more of my thoughts on that). Nevertheless, the goal in this video is not necessarily the conceptual or philosophical definition, so I’ll grant Meadows some slack there.

The dictionary definition he quotes is: “a game is a construct that organizes play through a series of rules, for the purpose of achieving a set of goals, overcoming an obstacle, and/or obtaining an objective.”

As Meadows says, that’s a decent definition. Indeed, it looks a lot like Bernard Suits’ well-known definition: “To play a game is to attempt to achieve a specific state of affairs [prelusory goal], using only means permitted by rules [lusory means], where the rules prohibit use of more efficient in favour of less efficient means [constitutive rules], and where the rules are accepted just because they make possible such activity [lusory attitude]” (The Grasshopper).

Suits’ definition is a standard in philosophy of sport (though it has some issues) and personally the philosophy nerd in me would have liked to see the Crash Course video engage more in some of the questions and issues raised both by Suits’ definition and Suits’ discussion of games. But that’s probably more than the course needed or wanted.

Meadows’ dictionary definition is missing a few key elements. Meadows notes this with his discussion of entertainment and its role in defining games. Now, depending on what he is getting at with entertainment, that might be captured by the placing of games in the genus of organized play. We can see that, I think, in his discussion of noted game developer Chris Crawford’s analysis of games as a kind of interaction with a ‘play thing.’ Crawford, as Meadows tells us, starts with the play thing: the object with which one interacts and entertains one’s self. Add goals, challenges, and a kind of conflict and you get a game. The core idea starts with the goal of entertaining one’s self through a kind of play. So, by making ‘game’ a species of organized play, the entertaining aspect seems already to be there.

I like that Meadows makes a point of explaining that play has to be voluntary. You have to want to play or it’s not play. However, he makes what I consider to be, an all too common, error when he says, “Voluntary participation is essential. Otherwise, it’s work.” Voluntary participation is essential to play and games, but it’s also essential to work: otherwise we are talking slavery. The Work/Play relationship and distinction is a fascinating one. I think it is often also a confused one. While it is true that work comes with obligations and restrictions we might not otherwise choose in isolation, we still are choosing them as part of the package of choosing to work (and what work and how we approach our work, etc.).

One key element that the video misses—though I think Meadows’ discussion implicitly is trying to get at—is the notion of the lusory attitude. The lusory attitude, as first set out by Suits, is our attitude of accepting the rules, challenges, goals, restrictions of the game. Namely, we accept these for the sake of the game itself – as opposed to accepting them for some other purpose external to the game. Here’s an example that comes up frequently in my classes. War has many features that might make it look like a game: there are goals, there are rules, there are challenges. I always have a few students who want to make the case that war is a kind of game. One of the reasons why this fails though is that participants are not accepting the goals or the rules of war in order for there to be a war. The war exists for the goals; while in games the goals exist for the game. In particular, the rules of war are accepted by the participants for the sake of something else such as morality or law. They are not accepted in order to make war possible: that would be really disturbing. In games, though, we accept the rules, the constraints on behavior, just in order to make the game happen. This is the lusory attitude. (This is why, in part, Katniss is not in a game in the Hunger Games, she is just trying to survivor a cruel and sadistic regime.)

Because we are talking about an attitude, this does make identification of games a little tricky. If you have the right attitude, war (or the Hunger Games) can be seen as and treated as a game. I see this as an advantage for the definition, however, since I think it better captures the reality of games. There are those who treat and engage in war or other activities as if they are games—and so, their actions and behaviors can be explained and understood in similar ways to those who are engage in more standard games. And when someone treats standard games as life and death, or as externally imposed, then it is harder to compare those participants’ actions and behaviors to normal game players. So it makes sense to put these under different conceptual headings at least in part because of the different attitudes.

The video ends with a discussion of value of games and game play. There is a lot good stuff here (maybe I’ll blog about that later), and the rest of the series is an informative and entertaining history of video games. I highly recommend it.

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Defining Sport Published

I’m proud to announce the publication of my edited volume: Defining Sport: Conceptions and Borderlinesbf77d-coverdefiningsport

This is the first volume in Lexington Books’ Studies in the Philosophy of Sport series. [As editor of this series, I’d love to hear ideas for contributions to this series. Contact me with ideas.]

Part One examines several of the standard and influential approaches to defining sport. Part Two uses these approaches to examine various challenging borderline cases (e.g. bullfighting, skateboarding, esport, Crossfit). These chapters examine the interplay of the borderline cases with the definition and provide a more thorough and clearer understanding of the definition and the given cases.

See the full listing of chapters and contributors on my blog.

It is available from Lexington, Amazon, and other booksellers. There is also an ebook version.

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Filed under Books, Philosophy, Sports Studies

CFA: IAPS 2017

UPDATE 3/6: Location has changed. See https://sportsethicist.com/2017/03/06/cfa-iaps-2017-update/

[I am so excited that IAPS is back in the USA this year! See the Call for Abstracts below.]

International Association for the Philosophy of Sport Conference

September 6-9, 2017 at Mississippi State University, Starkville, Mississippi USA

The International Association for the Philosophy of Sport invites the submission of abstracts to be considered for presentation at the 45th annual IAPS meeting and essays for the 2017 R. Scott Kretchmar Student Essay Award. The conference will be held September 6-9, 2017 in Starkville, Mississippi USA hosted at Mississippi State University.

Abstracts are welcome on any area of philosophy of sport (broadly construed), including metaphysics, epistemology, aesthetics, and ethics, and from any theoretical approach, including analytic philosophy and critical theory. While IAPS recognizes, values, and encourages interdisciplinary approaches and methodologies, acceptance is contingent on the philosophical content of the project. Emerging scholars are encouraged to submit works in progress. See Abstract Guidelines below for template and instructions.

Deadline for abstract submission is March 31, 2017. A Program Committee of three IAPS peers will blind review abstracts. Contributors will be notified about the status of their abstracts by May 12, 2017.

Proposals for round table and panel discussions, including a tentative list of participants, are also welcome and should be directed towards the IAPS Conference Chair, Pam Sailors at pamelasailors@missouristate.edu.

About IAPS

The International Association for the Philosophy of Sport (IAPS) is committed to stimulate, encourage, and promote research, scholarship, and teaching in the philosophy of sport and related practices. It publishes the Journal of the Philosophy of Sport, which is widely acknowledged as the most respected medium for communicating contemporary philosophic thought with regard to sport. IAPS members are found all over the world and constitute a growing and vibrant international community of scholars and teachers. More information on IAPS can be found at www.iaps.net.

2017 R. Scott Kretchmar Student Essay Award

IAPS is proud to announce the fourth edition of the “R. Scott Kretchmar Student Essay Award.” Interested undergraduate and graduate students who will be presenting their paper at the conference should submit a full paper by April 15, 2017 (in addition to an abstract, both through Easy Chair, see below).  A separate announcement is posted at the IAPS website. The selected winner shall present their paper and receive the award at the annual IAPS conference.

Conference Requirements

All conference presenters shall register for and attend the conference to have their paper included on the conference program. Presenters must also be members of IAPS (either student or full). New members may register for IAPS membership at the following www.iaps.net/join-iaps/

Abstract Guidelines

IAPS will be using the “Easy Chair” conference management system. Submitted abstracts should be 300-500 words long, in English, and must be received by March 31, 2017. Abstracts MUST follow the template and include:

  • A brief summary of a philosophical research topic
  • Keywords (three to five)
  • At least three references to relevant scholarly publications that contextualize the topic.

Submission Instructions

To submit an abstract, please download the IAPS Abstract Template. When you are ready to submit the abstract, go to https://easychair.org/conferences/?conf=iaps2017 . New users for Easy Chair must create an individual account login. Please complete the submission information and upload your completed IAPS Abstract Template.

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Filed under CFP, Conferences

Reason Papers: Philosophy of Play

The latest issue of Reason Papers, which I co-edit with Carrie-Ann Biondi, has a symposium on the philosophy of play.

Gadamer, Dewey, and the Importance of Play in Philosophical Inquiry
Christopher C. Kirby and Brolin Graham compare how play is crucial in the philosophical inquiry of Hans-Georg Gadamer and John Dewey.

Child-Centered Play Therapy
William Schultz looks at the evidence of the emotional and psychological benefits of play therapy for children.

Reflections on the Presence of Play in University Arts and Athletics
Aaron Harper looks at the parallels of play in the arts and athletics and argues for more integration of play into the university.

The Reconstructive and Normative Aspects of Bernard Suits’s Utopia
Francisco Javier Lopez Frias re-examines Bernard Suits’ The Grasshopper and his conception of Utopia.

The full issue is available here.

 

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Filed under College, Philosophy, play