Examined Sport: Stephen Finn, “In Defense of the Playoff System”

In this episode of Examined Sport, I look at Stephen Finn’s article “In Defense of the Playoff System” (Journal of the Philosophy of Sport, 2009). In this article, Finn sets out first to challenge critiques of the playoff system from Nicholas Dixon and William Morgan, and then to offer his positive defense of the playoff system.

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Call for Session Proposals: IAPS @ APA 2022

I am seeking proposals for the IAPS affiliated group session at the 2022 Pacific APA. It is set to take place in beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, April 13-16, 2022

I am looking for either a proposal to present a paper or a proposal for a set of thematically connected papers.

Any topic within philosophy of sport is welcomed.

What I need for the proposal:

  • Name and institutional affiliation
  • CV
  • Paper title & short abstract
  • Deadline: Sept 30th, 2021

If you are proposing a theme:

  • Names and institutional affiliations of each participant
  • CVs of each participant
  • Paper titles & short abstracts for each paper as part of the theme.
  • Deadline: Sept 30th, 2021

All presenters will need to be IAPS members. (Joining is easy: iaps.net)

Also, if you are planning on attending the Pacific APA and are willing to provide comments to any of the potential papers, please contact me.

Please send proposals by Sept 30th to Shawn Klein: sklein at asu.edu

Thanks!

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Examined Sport: Pam Sailors, “Mixed Competition and Mixed Messages”

In this episode of Examined Sport, I look at Pam Sailors’ “Mixed Competition and Mixed Messages.” Sailors takes up the question of sex segregation in sport by critiquing Jane English’s 1978 “Sex Equality in Sport”. Sailors then discusses how to deal with the complexity of gender in sport and how best to structure competitions.

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Examined Sport: Jane English, “Sex Equality in Sports”

In this episode of Examined Sport, I look at Jane English’s “Sex Equality in Sports,” published in Philosophy and Public Affairs in 1978. In this classic and influential paper, English examines what equal opportunity for women in sports means and what it implies.

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  • Jane English, “Sex Equality in Sports,” Philosophy & Public Affairs, Vol. 7, No. 3 (Spring, 1978), pp. 269-277

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Brief Review: The Game of Life: College Sports and Educational Values

Though a bit dated, The Game of Life is an essential book for understanding college sports. The authors analyze datasets of colleges and universities from the 50s, 70s, and 80s to get a sense of the impact, costs, and benefits of college sports on college and beyond. Though they don’t go beyond the late 80s/early 90s in their data, much of what they find is still relevant today, probably more so. There is little reason to think that the trends they see in the data would have reversed.

Their focus is on selective colleges and universities. They compare data from Division 1A, both public and private, institutions, Ivy League schools, and coed liberal arts colleges. They look across the spectrum of sports: not just football and men’s basketball. The first several chapters focus on men’s athletics and then they shift to women’s athletics. They look at admissions, academic outcomes, and impacts on later careers and earnings. They also examine how participation in athletics affects the kind of leadership roles students take on as well as the impact on charity and public service. Their analysis ends with a look at the financial costs of athletic programs. They close the book with a discussion of “propositions” that the authors hope might guide reform attempts.

There are many interesting findings. Some not at all surprising: academic outcomes for most athletes is worse than the average student at their respective institutions; almost no athletics program is profitable. Others are more surprising (at least to me). For example, one of the things they trace through the data is that as women’s athletics, in particular basketball and softball, become bigger (more money, more recruiting, etc), they start to mirror their male counterparts in terms of outcomes and impacts (for good and ill). In retrospect, it’s kind of obvious that this would be the case, but seeing the data that, for example, as recruitment of women athletes intensifies, the academic outcomes start to look more and more like the outcomes of recruited male athletes was eye-opening nonetheless.

For the most part, the book is straightforwardly empirical. The authors present and discuss the data (There is an appendix of 30-40 pages that summaries the key points of the data). There’s little pontification, judgment making, or self-righteous criticism. It’s a serious attempt to bring together data to better understand the history and state of college athletics. It is really only in the last chapter that the authors share how they judge the state of things and where they think it ought to go. They self-consciously do not offer a “blueprint,” but they present nine propositions (which are more like aspirations) to guide reform. Personally, I do not think most of these are workable given the considerable impediments to reform that the authors themselves discuss.

The biggest takeaway, I suppose, of the book is that college athletics and the rest of the university are increasingly diverging. The authors see an important role for athletics as part of the overall mission and purpose of the university, and want to find ways to bridge this gap. However, the data they present doesn’t show a way to do anything about this widening gyre.

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Examined Sport: Nicholas Dixon, “A Moral Critique of Mixed Martial Arts”

In this episode of Examined Sport, I discuss Nicholas Dixon’s “A Moral Critique of Mixed Martial Arts” published in Public Affairs Quarterly in 2015. This paper is one of the first philosophical analyses of the sport of MMA.

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CFP: Studies in Philosophy of Sport

This is an active and ongoing call for proposals for the Studies in Philosophy of Sport series from Lexington Books.

This series encourages scholars from all disciplines to inquire into the nature, importance, and qualities of sport and related activities. The series aims to encourage new voices and methods for the philosophic study of sport while also inspiring established scholars to consider new questions and approaches.

The series encourages scholars new to the philosophy of sport to bring their expertise to this growing field. These new voices bring innovative methods and different questions to the standard issues in the philosophy of sport. Well-trodden topics in the literature will be reexamined with fresh takes and new questions and issues will be explored to advance the field beyond traditional positions.

A few possible topic ideas:

  • A deep analysis of one of the central concepts or theories in philosophy of sport.
    • Internalism, conventionalism, mutualism, etc.
    • Fouls and rules
    • Technology and its philosophical implications
    • Competition
    • Sportsmanship
  • Epistemological issues in sport: can sport teach us anything about how and what we know?
  • Metaphysical issues in sport: mind/body, personal identity, time, etc.
  • Application of contemporary approaches to philosophy to sport.
  • Look at a specific sport (rugby, tennis, gymnastics, etc.) and examine what philosophy can tell us about that sport and/or what that sport can teach us about philosophy.
  • Philosophical/ethical issues in the Olympics, college athletics, or youth sports.
  • Adaption of dissertation to a monograph.

Proposal Information

Review the proposal guidelines.

The series publishes both monographs and edited volumes. The “philosophy of sport” should be construed broadly to include many different methodological approaches, historical traditions, and academic disciplines.

I am happy to discuss topics before a formal proposal is submitted. Just email me and we’ll get the ball rolling.

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McNamee Student Essay Prize in the Philosophy of Sport

Reposting from: http://philosophyofsport.org.uk/mcnamee-student-essay-prize-in-the-philosophy-of-sport/

For questions or inquires please contact BPSA (contact info below)


McNamee Student Essay Prize in the Philosophy of Sport

Sponsored by Routledge / Taylor & Francis

The British Philosophy of Sport Association (BPSA) invites submissions for the McNamee Student Essay Prize in the Philosophy of Sport. The Prize is named in honour of Prof. Mike McNamee (Swansea and KU Leuven), founder of the BPSA, and it is kindly sponsored by Routledge / Taylor & Francis.

Prizes

Winner – £500 cash + £50 Routledge voucher

Runner-up – £200 cash + £50 Routledge voucher

Commendations x 3 – each of the three commended essays will receive £100 cash + £50 Routledge voucher

The Winner and Runner-up will be invited to present their essays at a BPSA online work-in-progress seminar in November ’21.

Essay Format

2500 words (including footnotes / endnotes but excluding works cited) on any topic in the Philosophy of Sport.

To become acquainted with topics considered in the Philosophy of Sport, please consult the Association’s journal Sport, Ethics and Philosophy:

https://www.tandfonline.com/toc/rsep20/current

Eligibility

Candidates must be enrolled in a full-time university undergraduate or graduate level course on 1 September ’21. Submissions must be single-authored and the candidate’s own work, and they must address an issue in the Philosophy of Sport. Each candidate may submit one essay only and submissions must be in English. There is no geographical restriction on eligibility.

Criteria

In assessing submitted papers, the jury will place a strong emphasis on the following considerations:

  • Originality of the essay topic and its treatment;
  • Analytical rigour of the essay’s argument;
  • Critical engagement with relevant philosophical literature, including relevant work in the Philosophy of Sport.

Candidates will not receive feedback on their submission. The jury reserves the right not to award a prize if submissions fail to achieve an appropriate standard. The decision of the jury is final.

To Enter

Submissions should be emailed in Word or PDF format to j.w.devine@swansea.ac.uk with subject line ‘BPSA Essay Prize’
Candidates should submit two separate documents:

  1. Cover sheet that includes the candidate’s information (i.e. name, email address, university, and essay title); and
  2. Essay document that is anonymised so as not to reveal the identity of the candidate.

Deadline

September 1st, 2021

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Examined Sport: Nicholas Dixon, “Boxing, Paternalism, and Legal Moralism”

In this episode of Examined Sport, I discuss Nicholas Dixon’s “Boxing, Paternalism, and Legal Moralism” published in Social Theory and Practice in April 2001. While Dixon is not the first to address moral questions about the sport of boxing, this paper is important because Dixon focuses on what he calls pre-emptive paternalism as the basis for restrictions on boxing. This conception of paternalism has since been influential in the philosophy of sport on a wide range of issues from doping to banning of American football.

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Examined Sport: Scott Kretchmar, “From Test to Contest: An Analysis of Two Kinds of Counterpoint in Sport”

After a long hiatus, Examined Sport is back! Look for new episodes every two weeks.


In this episode of Examined Sport, I discuss Scott Kretchmar’s “From Test to Contest: An Analysis of Two Kinds of Counterpoint in Sport” published in the Journal of Philosophy of Sport in 1975. One of the foundational papers of the discipline, Kretchmar examines the distinction between tests and contests. The paper introduces several ideas that are influential on Kretchmar’s later work and on other thinkers in the field.

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