Fall 2021: Sports Ethics (PHI 370) @ ASU

I will be teaching PHI 370: Sports Ethics at ASU in fall 2021.

For ASU students: Check with your academic advisor, but this course may be used to meet your HU general studies requirement and your general upper-division hours requirement. It may also be used as one of your upper-division electives in both the Philosophy and the Morality, Politics and Law majors, as well as the Ethics Certificate.

This course is also one of the required courses for the Sports, Cultures and Ethics Certificate.


Course Description:

A study of moral issues in sports, including but not limited to the nature and application of sportsmanship, the prohibition of performance enhancing drugs, ethical issues in the economics of sports, the role of violence, and fandom.

Prerequisite(s): ENG 102, 105, or 108 with C or better; minimum 25 hours; Credit is allowed for only PHI 370 or PHI 394 (Sports Ethics)

The class is scheduled for T/TH 9-10:15 am on the Tempe campus (COOR 199). SLN#: 91210

Tentative Weekly Reading and Unit Schedule
(subject to change)

Module: Course Introduction

Module: Philosophy and Sport: What is ‘sport’ and why study it?

  • Assigned Readings:
    • Carson, Chad. “A Three-Pointer: Revisiting Three Crucial Issues in the “Tricky Triad” of Play, Games, and Sport.” Defining Sport. Edited by Shawn E. Klein. Lexington Books: Maryland, 2017, pp 3-21.
    • Reid, Heather, “Socrates at the Ballpark.” Baseball and Philosophy. Edited by Eric Bronson. Open Court: Chicago, 2004, pp 273-283.

Module: What is Sportsmanship?

  • Assigned Readings:
    • Keating, James, “Sportsmanship as a Moral Category,” Ethics 75, No 1, 1964, pp 25-35.
    • Feezell, Randolph, “Sportsmanship,” Journal of the Philosophy of Sport, Vol 13, 1986, pp 1-13.

Module: Is it ethical to run up the score?

  • Assigned Readings:
    • Dixon, Nicholas, “On Sportsmanship and ‘Running Up the Score”; Journal of the Philosophy of Sport, Vol 19, 1992, pp 1-13.
    • Feezell, Randolph, “Sportmanship and Blowouts: Baseball and Beyond” Journal of the Philosophy of Sport, Vol 26, 1999, pp 68-78.

Module: Is it wrong to foul?

  • Assigned Readings:
    • Fraleigh, Warren. “Intentional rules violations — One more time,” Journal of the Philosophy of Sport 30, No, 2, 2003, pp 166-176.
    • Simon, Robert. The ethics of strategic fouling: A reply to Fraleigh,” Journal of the Philosophy of Sport 32, No. 1, 2005, pp 87-95.

Module: Is competition moral?

  • Assigned Readings:
    • Kretchmar, R. Scott. “In Defense of Winning,” Sports Ethics: An Anthology. Ed. By Jan Boxill. Blackwell Publishing, 2003. pp. 130-135.
    • Simon, Robert. “The Critique of Competition in Sports,” Fair Play: The Ethics of Sport. 2nd Edition. Westview Press: 2004. Pp 19-35.
    • Kohn, Alfie. “Fun and Fitness w/o Competition,” Women’s Sport & Fitness, July/August 1990.

Module: Are playoffs fair?

  • Assigned Readings:
    • Torres, Cesar R., and Peter Hager, “The Desirability of the Season Long Tournament: A Response to Finn,” Journal of the Philosophy of Sport, Vol 38, pp 39-54.
    • Harper, Aaron, “’You’re the best around’: an argument for playoffs and tournaments,” Journal of the Philosophy of Sport, Vol 43, no 2, 2016, pp 295-309

 Module: Should fighting in sport by allowed?

  • Assigned Readings:
    • Dixon, Nicholas. “A Moral Critique of Mixed Martial Arts,” Public Affairs Quarterly, Vol 29, No 4, 2015, 365-384.
    • Dixon, Nicholas. “A Critique of Violent Retaliation in Sport,” Journal of Philosophy of Sport, Vol 37, No. 1, 2010, pp 1-10.
    • Zakhem, Abe. “The Virtues of a Good Fight: Assessing the Ethics of Fighting in the National Hockey League,” Sports, Ethics and Philosophy, Vol. 9, No. 1, 2015, pp 32-46.

Module: Can playing dangerous sports be justified?

  • Assigned Readings:
    • Russell, J.S. “The Value of Dangerous Sport,” Journal of Philosophy of Sport, 32, No. 1, 2005, pp 1-19.
    • Findler, Patrick, “Should kids play (American) football?” Journal of Philosophy of Sport, Vol. 42, No. 3, 2015, pp 443-462.
    • Pam Sailors, “Personal Foul: an evaluation of moral status of football,” Journal of Philosophy of Sport, 42, No. 2, 2015, pp 269-286. (focus on pp 269-76)

Module: Should performance-enhancing drugs be banned?

  • Assigned Readings:
    • Savulescu, Julian, Roger Crisp, and John Devine, “Oxford Debate: Performance enhancing drugs should be allowed in sport” University of Oxford, 2014.
    • Simon, Robert. “Good competition and drug-enhanced performance,” Journal of the Philosophy of Sport, 11, 1984, pp 6-13.
    • Hemphill, Dennis. “Performance enhancement and drug control in sport: ethical considerations,” Sport in Society, Vol. 12, No. 3, 2009, pp 313-326.

Module: How should sport deal with sex and gender equality? 

  • Assigned Readings:
    • English, Jane. “Sex Equality in Sports” Philosophy and Public Affairs, Vol 7, No 3, 1978, pp 269-277
    • Sailors, Pam. “Mixed Competition and Mixed Messages.” Journal of the Philosophy of Sport, Vol. 41, No. 1, 2014, pp 65–77.

Module: Where should transgender athletes compete?

  • Assigned Readings:
    • Coggon, John; Natasha Hammond; and Søren Holm, “Transsexuals in sport – fairness and freedom, regulation and law,” Sports, Ethics and Philosophy, Vol 2, No. 1, 2008, pp 4-17.
    • Gleaves, John and Tim Lehrbach, “Beyond fairness: the ethics of inclusion for transgender and intersex athletes.” Journal of the Philosophy of Sport, Vol 43, No. 2, 2016, pp 311-326.

Module: What ought to be the social impact of sport?

  • Assigned Readings:
    • Eig, Jonathan, “Some Good Colored Players” Opening Day: The Story of Jackie Robinson’s First Season. Simon and Schuster: New York, 2007, pp 26-34.
    • Leavy, Jane, “The King of the Jews,” Sandy Koufax. Perennial: New York, 2002, pp 167- 174, 193-4.
    • Sailors, Pam, “Zola Budd and the Political Pawn.” FairPlay, Revista de Filosofía, Ética y Derecho del Deporte, vol. 10, 2017.

Module: What should the role of money be in sport?

  • Assigned Readings:
    • Duncan, Albert. “Does A-Rod Deserve So Much Money? Yes” Baseball and Philosophy. Ed. by Eric Bronson. Open Court: Chicago, 2004. pp 297-299.
    • Shuman, Joel. “Does A-Rod Deserve So Much Money? No,” Baseball and Philosophy. Ed. by Eric Bronson. Open Court: Chicago, 2004. pp 300-302.
    • Collins-Cavanaugh, Daniel. “Does the Salary Cap Make the NFL a Fairer League?” Football and Philosophy. Ed. Michael Austin. The University Press of Kentucky, 2008. pp 165-180.
    • Sheehan, Joe. “Salary Cap,” Baseball Prospectus. Feb. 19, 2002.

Module: Is being a fan moral?

  • Assigned Readings:
    • Dixon, Nicholas. “The Ethics of Supporting Sports Teams,” Journal of Applied Philosophy, 18, No. 2, 2001, pp 149-158.
    • Mumford, Stephen, “The Philosophy of Sports Fans,” PhilosophyFile, The University of Nottingham, 2011, video.
    • Aikin, Scott F., “Responsible Sports Spectatorship and the Problem of Fantasy Leagues” International Journal of Applied Philosophy 27, No. 2, 2013, pp 195-206.

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Filed under Arizona State, Classes, Sports Ethics, Sports Studies

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