Category Archives: Philosophy

Surfing and the Philosophy of Sport

I’m thrilled to announce the publication of the newest book in the Studies in Philosophy of Sport Book Series.

Surfing and the Philosophy of Sport uses the insights gained through an analysis of the sport of surfing to explore key questions and discourses within the philosophy of sport. As surfing has been practiced dynamically, since its beginnings as a traditional Polynesian pursuit to its current status as a counter-culture lifestyle and also a highly professionalized and commercialized sport that will be included in the Olympic Games, it presents a unique phenomenon from which to reconsider questions about the nature of sport and its role in a flourishing life and society. Daniel Brennan examines foundational issues about defining sport, sport’s role in conceptualizing the good life, the aesthetic nature of sport, the place of technology in sport, the principles of Olympism and surfing’s embodiment of them, and issues of institutionalized sexism in sport and the effect that might have on athletic performance.

Table of Contents:

  • Chapter 1: Surfing and Sport
  • Chapter 2: Waves and Wipeouts in Utopia
  • Chapter 3: Drawing Lines on Waves; surfing and the aesthetics of sport
  • Chapter 4: Making Waves: Surfing and Technology
  • Chapter 5: Surfing’s Olympian Moment
  • Chapter 6: Surfing like a Girl: Sexism in Surf Culture and Feminine Motility

Available now at AmazonLexington, and other book sellers.

Studies in Philosophy of Sport Book Series

Series Editor: Shawn E. Klein, Ph.D. (sklein@asu.edu // sportsethicist@gmail.com )

The Studies in Philosophy of Sport series from Lexington Books 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 in this field.

More on the series.

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Filed under Books, Philosophy, publications, Sports Studies, surfing

Philosophy of Sport: Reading List

This is the reading list for the PHI 394: Philosophy of Sport (Spring 2021).

Defining Sport

  • Bernard Suits, “The Elements of Sport” in Osterhoudt, Robert G. The Philosophy of Sport: a Collection of Original Essays. Springfield, Ill., Thomas, 1973
  • McBride, Frank. “Toward A Non Definition of Sport.” Journal of the Philosophy of Sport, vol. 2, 1975, pp. 4–11.

Sport and Play

  • Suits, Bernard. “Words on Play.” Journal of the Philosophy of Sport, vol. 4, 1977, pp. 117–131.
  • Roochnik, David. “Play and Sport.” Journal of the Philosophy of Sport, vol. 2, 1975, pp. 36-44.

Sport and Games

  • Suits, Bernard. “Tricky Triad: Games, Play, and Sport.” Journal of the Philosophy of Sport, vol. 15, 1988, p. 1-10.
  • Meier, Klaus V. “Triad Trickery: Playing With Sport and Games.” Journal of the Philosophy of Sport, vol. 15, 1988, pp. 11–30.

Sport and Art

  • Cordner, Christopher. “Differences Between Sport and Art.” Journal of the Philosophy of Sport, vol. 15, no. 1, 1988, pp. 31–47.
  • Kaelin, E. F. “The Well-Played Game: Notes Toward an Aesthetics of Sport.” Quest , vol. 10, no. 1, 1968, pp. 16–29.

Theories of Sport: Formalism

  • D’Agostino, Fred. “The Ethos of Games.” Journal of the Philosophy of Sport, vol. 8, no. 1, Fall 1981, pp. 7–18.
  • Morgan, William J. “The Logical Incompatibility Thesis and Rules: A Reconsideration of Formalism as an Account of Games.” Journal of the Philosophy of Sport, vol. 14, no. 1, Jan. 1987, pp. 1–20.

Theories of Sport: Broad Internalism/Interpretivism

  • Simon, Robert. “Internalism and Internal Values in Sport.” Journal of the Philosophy of Sport, vol. 27, no. 1, 2000, pp. 1–16.
  • Russell, John.  “Are Rules All an Umpire Has to Work With?” Journal of the Philosophy of Sport, vol. 26, 1999, pp. 27–49.
  • Dixon, Nicholas. “Canadian Figure Skaters, French Judges, and Realism in Sport.” Journal of the Philosophy of Sport, vol. 30, no 2, 2003, pp. 103–116.

Theories of Sport: Practices and Narratives

  • Brown, W. Miller. “Practices and Prudence.” Journal of the Philosophy of Sport, vol. 17, no. 1, Jan. 1990, pp. 71–84
  • Gleaves, John. “Sport as Meaningful Narratives.” Journal of the Philosophy of Sport, vol. 44, 2017, pp. 29–43.

Theories of Sport: Deep Conventionalism

  • Morgan, William. “Broad Internalism, Deep Conventions, Moral Entrepreneurs, and Sport.” Journal of the Philosophy of Sport, vol. 39, 2012, pp. 65–100.
  • Moore, Eric. “Against Deep Conventionalism.” Journal of the Philosophy of Sport, vol. 45, no. 3, 2018, pp. 228–40.

Concepts of Competition

  • MacRae, Sinclair A. “Competition, Cooperation, and an Adversarial Model of Sport.” Journal of the Philosophy of Sport, vol. 45, no. 1, Mar. 2018, pp. 53–67.
  • Skultety, Steven. “Categories of Competition,” Sport, Ethics and Philosophy, vol. 5, no 4, 2011, pp 433-446.

Officiating Technology

  • Collins, Harry, “The Philosophy of Umpiring and the Introduction of Decision-Aid Technology” Journal of the Philosophy of Sport, vol. 37, no. 1, 2010, pp. 135-146.
  • Royce, Richard, “Refereeing And Technology–Reflections On Collins’ Proposals” Journal of the Philosophy of Sport, vol. 39, no. 1, 2012, pp. 53-64.

E-Sports as Sport

  • Hemphill, Dennis, “Cybersport” Journal of the Philosophy of Sport, vol. 32, no. 1, 2005 pp. 195-207.
  • Gawrysiak, Joey, “E-sport: Video Games as Sport” in Defining Sport, edited by Shawn E. Klein, Lexington Books, 2016, pp 207-221.

Mind and Body

  • Breivik, Gunnar. “Zombie-Like or Superconscious? A Phenomenological and Conceptual Analysis of Consciousness In Elite Sport.” Journal of the Philosophy of Sport, Vol. 40, no 1, 2013, pp. 1–22.
  • Sheets-Johnstone, Maxine, “Rationality and Caring: An Ontogenetic and Phylogenetic Perspective,” Journal of the Philosophy of Sport, Vol. 29, no. 2, 2002, pp. 136-148.

Epistemology

  • Steel, Margaret, “What We Know When We Know A Game,” Journal of the Philosophy of Sport, vol. 4, no. 1, 1977, pp. 96-103.
  • Birch, Jens Erling, “Skills – do we really know what kind of knowledge they are?” Sport, ethics and philosophy, Vol.10, no. 3, 2016, pp.237-250

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Filed under Arizona State, Classes, Philosophy, Sports Studies

Book Review: Sport and Moral Conflict

My review of William Morgan’s newest book, Sport and Moral Conflict: A Conventionalist Theory, was posted on the Nordic Sport Science Forum.

William Morgan is one of the leading thinkers in philosophy of sport. He is the author of several books, including widely-used textbooks, and many seminal journal articles. The publication of a new book by Morgan is thus significant. And his newest book, Sport and Moral Conflict, is a significant book: it is a must for any philosopher of sport to have on his or her shelf.

While it can be dense and turgid at times, overall it is intellectually engrossing. It is a book I know I will return again and again for its trenchant analysis and thoughtful insight. Indeed, though I disagree with important aspects of Morgan’s argument, I am already making use of it to supplement my current teaching and writing.

Read the rest: https://idrottsforum.org/klesha_morgan201217/

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Filed under Books, Philosophy, Reviews, Sports Ethics, Sports Studies, Uncategorized

Spring 2021: Philosophy of Sport (ASU)

In Spring 2021, I will be teaching “Philosophy of Sport” again! I’m stilling planning out the specifics (suggestions welcome!), but here’s a brief look at some of the issues/questions we’ll examine in the spring.

FYI: This course counts for ASU’s Sports, Cultures and Ethics Certificate.

Course Description:

An inquiry into philosophical issues in sport. Topics and readings will vary, but may include: the nature and definition of sport, an examination of the main theories of sport, metaphysical and epistemological issues, and the aesthetics of sport. Since PHI 370 Sports Ethics examines ethical issues in sport, this course will not primarily deal with ethical issues.

Tentative Plan of Possible Issues:

  • The Nature and Definition of Sport:
    • Can we, should we, define sport?
    • How does sport relate to and differ from: play, games, art?
    • What are the main theories of sport?
  • The Rules of Sport
    • How should we understand and interpret the rules of sport?
    • What are the different kinds of rules?
    • How do referees, umpires, game officials relate to the rules?
    • What parallels are there to how we might understand law?
  • The Mind and Body in Sport:
    • What can we learn about the mind/body relationship from sport?
    • What does sport presuppose about the relationship of mind and body?
  • Epistemological Issues in Sport:
    • What, if anything, can sport tell us about the nature of knowledge/knowing?
    • What do we know when we know in sport?
  • Technology
    • How does technology change the ways we understand and engage in sport?
    • What role should technology have in officiating sports?

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New Publication: The Value of Play and The Good Human Life

Along with several philosophy of sport colleagues, I have an article in a recently published special issue of Cultura_Ciencia_Deporte (Vol 13, No. 38). The issues explores philosophical theories of play, sport, and games.

My article focuses on the value of play and argues that play, like virtue and friendship, is an important part of the good human life.

The Value of Play and The Good Human Life by Shawn E. Klein

Abstract:

The dominant conception of play in philosophy of sport is that it is autotelic. This conception is the subject of important criticisms by Stephen Schmid and others. With these criticisms in mind, my paper seeks to move the discussion of play beyond the apparent dichotomy of autotelicity and instrumentality. Drawing a parallel to the role virtue and friendship have in a broadly construed (neo-)Aristotelian ethic, I argue that play is an important part of the good human life. Like virtue and friendship, play is chosen both for the sake of its importance to the good life and for its own sake. It is partly constitutive of the good life and thus chosen as part of and for the sake of the good life. At the same time, however, play is chosen for its own sake: for what it is distinct from any further ends it might bring about. Thus, play is not autotelic, but nor is it instrumental. Play should be considered, therefore, a constituent value of the good human life.

 

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Defining Sport Reviewed

When a book you edited gets a positive review in the top journal in your field, a little tooting of your own horn is justified. So: Toot! Toot!

The Journal of the Philosophy of Sport published a review by Steven Piper of my Defining Sport: Conceptions and Borderlines (Lexington Books). If you have access to the journal, you can read the review online.

Here’s the closing paragraph:

There is an endearing honesty of endeavour to this book that renders it difficult not be persuaded by many of the claims made by its various contributors. That is not say that this book is naïve or lacking philosophical ‘heft’, indeed, quite the opposite is true. One of the main strengths of this book is that it has achieved something fundamentally necessary for any philosophical work to be successful: it has taken complex concepts and ideas and distilled them into something palatable enough for students to understand, but robust enough for scholars to refer to. It has also successfully taken work by philosophers fundamental to the discipline (Suits, Meier and Huizinga most notably) and found fresh ways to build on their fundamental ideas and concepts. This book is a fine addition to the philosophy of sport, and will ensure that students and academics alike will continue to engage in the questions that surround any attempt to define what sport is or could be for years to come.

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New ASU Course: Philosophy of Sport

I’m excited to announce a new online course being offered in Session A of Spring 2018: PHI 394: Philosophy of Sport.

PhilSPortFlyerCourse Description:

An inquiry into philosophical ideas and issues in sport. Topics and readings will vary, but may include: the nature and definition of sport, the mind-body relationship in sport, the effects of technology on sport, epistemological issues in officiating, and the aesthetics of sport. Since our “Sports Ethics” course examines ethical issues in sport, this course will not deal with primarily ethical issues.

 Likely Topics:

  • The Nature and Definition of Sport:
    • Can we, should we, define sport?
    • How does sport relate to: play, games, art?
  • The Mind and Body in Sport:
    • What can we learn about the mind/body relationship from sport?
    • What does sport presupposed about mind and body?
    • What can we learn about epistemology and metaphysics through sport? Does sport presuppose particular theories about reality or knowledge?
  • Technology and Officiating
    • How does technology change the ways we understand and engage in sport?
    • What role should technology have in officiating sports?
    • How do referees, umpires, etc., relate to the rules? What parallels are there to how we might understand law?

This course counts an upper-division elective credit. Talk with your advisor if you are interested in taking this course.

 

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IAPS: “The Value of Play and the Good Life”

The International Association for the Philosophy of Sport(IAPS) is holding its annual conference in Whistler, BC, Canada, September 6-9, 2017. I will be attending and presenting. The title of my presentation is “The Value of Play and the Good Life”.

Here’s the abstract:

The dominant conception of play in sport philosophy is that it is must be autotelic. This conception, though, is the subject of some important criticisms. Stephen Schmid argues that the concept of autotelicity admits of many interpretations all of which fail to provide a clear and accurate picture of what play is. Randolph Feezell argues for a pluralistic conception of play, calling for us to acknowledge the variety of meanings and usages of play when we theorize about it. This pluralism seems to push back on the idea that play must always be autotelic and non-instrumental. Additionally, it is worth noting that the empirical literature on play focuses primarily on the external and instrumental benefits that play provides.

With these and other criticisms in mind, my paper seeks to move the discussion of play beyond the dichotomy of autotelicity and instrumentality. Even though most theorists acknowledge that players have mixed-motivations, purposes, and goals, there still is a tendency to treat autotelicity and instrumentality as exhausting the options for categorizing play. The underlying implicit assumption is that it must be either autotelic or instrumental: done for its own sake or done for the sake of something else. This assumption ignores or downplays a third possible category: an activity that is chosen for its own sake and at the same time chosen for the sake of something else.

Drawing a parallel to the role virtue and friendship have in a broadly construed (neo-) Aristotelian ethics, I argue that play is an important part of the good human life. Like virtue and friendship, play is chosen both for the sake of its importance to the good life and for its own sake. It is partly constitutive of the good life and thus chosen as part of and for the sake of the good life. At the same time, however, play is chosen for its own sake: for what it is distinct from any further ends it might bring about. Thus, play is not autotelic, but nor is it instrumental.

Recognizing play as a constituent value of the good life will allow us to integrate the internal and external, the autotelic and instrumental, and gain a better understanding of the value of play.

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Examined Sport: Bernard Suits’ “The Elements of Sport”

In this episode of Examined Sport, I examine Bernard Suits’ “The Elements of Sport.” This 1973 essay applies Suits’ definition of game-playing (see the “What is a Game?” episode) to sport.

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Examined Sport: Bernard Suits, “What is a Game?”

In this episode of Examined Sport, I examine Bernard Suits’ “What is a Game?” Suits presents his influential definition of game-playing in this discipline-defining article first published in 1967.

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