Post IAPS Conference Reflections

I recently returned from the IAPS annual conference. This was a special one: the 50th anniversary of the organization. Founded in 1972 as the Philosophic Society for the Study of Sport, it has grown to be the premier philosophy of sport organization in the world. It changed its name to the International Association for the Philosophy of Sport (IAPS) in 1999 to reflect its international stature. In addition to the standard philosophy panels, there was a wonderful celebration of one of the central founders of the society, the late Warren Fraleigh.

My talk went, I think, really well. I got a lot of great feedback from folks with suggestions for developing the paper further. I was honored to be paired with two great philosophy of sport scholars, Jeff Fry and Nick Dixon. Jeff spoke about free will and Nick about immoral attitudes in sport. Both talks gave me lots to think about.

I chaired a session on ancient philosophy that was really wide-ranging and interesting. The first paper, by Oh-Ryun Kwon and Jeong-Hyo Kim drew some fascinating comparisons between Plato and Confucius on mind-body issues. Breanna McCoy then discussed the interrelations between the concepts of democracy, sport, and philosophy. Lastly, Jenny Schiff examined Aristotle’s virtue of bravery and its application to sport.

I few other highlights:

  • John Russell critique of Suits utopia of games showed many pitfalls in Suits’ otherwise brilliant account of games.
  • Adam Copeland and Tom Rorke examined the idea of athletic citizenship as a way to understand athletic role models. I don’t agree with them, but their paper raises important issues.
  • Mitchell Berman laid out a robust framework for thinking about transgender participation.
  • Jo Morrison and Eric Moore presented some really compelling evidence about placebo performance enhancing that calls into question a lot of the assumptions about PED. In particular, Jo Morrison was exciting to listen to: I’d love to have taken some science classes with her.

There were many other terrific talks, and many more I wished I could have attended.

Next year’s conference is in Split, Croatia. It looks to be another great one; the location is amazing. Alas, it’ll likely be too far and too expensive for me to go. But the year after that is in Nova Scotia, so that is much more doable for me.



Filed under Conferences, IAPS

2 responses to “Post IAPS Conference Reflections


    Thanks, Shawn! As ever, very intriguing and enlightening.

    I think your discussion of how the boundaries of the sport rules are stretched applies as well to everyday life. People do push the boundaries of accepted and expected behavior, and the rules do change over time. I suspect there is something to be said for that old distinction between law and legislation in this context, too.

    By the way, is the full text of your presentation available somewhere easily (and cheaply) accessible to someone like me?

    John Kannarr

    Sent from Mail for Windows

    • Thanks John. Good to hear from you. Thanks for the suggestion about law/legislation. That’s a distinction worth exploring to see how might it relate to sport.

      The presentation is not posted anywhere. It’s a work in progress and with an eye on publishing it in a journal, I can’t post it here.

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