Category Archives: Site Announcements

New Feature: Ask The Sports Ethicist

Do you have a question about an ethical or philosophical issue in sport? Ask The Sports Ethicist!

In this regular feature of The Sports Ethicist blog, I will post and respond to readers’ questions. Each answer will explain the different takes on the issue from standard viewpoints in the philosophy literature, as well as more common-sense approaches (when appropriate). Lastly, I will weigh in with my own take.

For more on submitting questions, click here.


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IAPS at Central APA: A Worthy Conception of Virtue for Sport

The International Association for the Philosophy of Sport (IAPS) is holding a group session at the American Philosophical Association Central Division Meeting in Chicago, IL.

February 27, 2014; 5:30 – 7:30pm

Chair: Shawn E. Klein (Rockford University/

Speaker: Mary Gwin (Oklahoma State University)

Commentators: Craig Carley (Phoenix College) & Shawn E. Klein

Dr. Gwin will present her paper: “A Worthy Conception of Virtue for Sport”

The following is the introductory paragraph from Dr. Gwin’s paper.

My goal in this paper is to discuss a particular conception of virtue for sport that I think is more apt than competing conceptions of virtue found in the virtue epistemology and virtue ethics literature.  While we often talk about virtues in sport, as far as I can tell from the literature on virtue and sport there has been little or no discussion of the particular conception of virtue that is most apt for sport.  For example, Michael Austin (2009) develops a neo-Aristotelian notion of magnanimity for sport to argue that a magnanimous athlete will use sport to develop her own moral character.  Heather Reid (2012), as another example, uses a Mengzian/Aristotelian notion of honesty to argue that the virtue of honesty in sport should be understood as accurate self-assessment of one’s own abilities.  As someone who is sympathetic to both projects of virtue epistemology and virtue ethics, I applaud these efforts, and I do not think that anyone can deny that virtue plays an important role in the philosophical analysis of sport, whether it is ethical or epistemological.  In this paper, I begin with a brief discussion of two competing conceptions of virtue—reliabilism and responsibilism—found in the virtue epistemology and (and somewhat arguably) virtue ethics literature.  Then, I turn to Baehr’s alternative, though responsibilist aligned conception of virtue, the personal worth conception.  Finally, I argue that practical wisdom and honesty, two goals central to an athlete’s achievement of the lusory goal of sport, are best understood on this conception.  As a consequence of my view, I argue, possessing these virtues makes the athlete better qua person and athlete.  If I am right about a personal worth conception of virtue being an apt conception of virtue for sport, then we may be able to further the discussion of virtue in sport in general.


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New Course: PHIL 340 Philosophy of Sport

phil of sport-thumb
The Rockford University Philosophy Department is offering a new course this spring: PHIL 340 Philosophy of Sport.

Course 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.

The course will be using Heather Reid’s Introduction to the Philosophy of Sport (Elements of Philosophy) as well as supplemental articles from the philosophy of sport literature. The course does carry a pre-requisite of a previous philosophy class. Of course, if you have taken my Sports Ethics class, then you have satisfied this requirement.

The course meets T/TH, 1-2:15 pm. Please contact me if you have any questions about the course.

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Sports Ethicist takes to the airwaves

Sports Ethicist ShowI am very excited to announce that The Sports Ethicist is starting a radio show/podcast.

The Sports Ethicist Show will air on Rockford College Radio each Monday at 6 pm (Central).

The first episode will air March 25 at 6 pm (Central) and features my colleague English Professor Michael Perry as we tackle the issue of “What is Sport?”

If you have questions or issues you would like The Sports Ethicist to answer or discuss on the air, send them to me:

*I may read your email/tweet/facebook message on air, so if you don’t want me to say your name, please let me know in your message.

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CNN asks “Give Lance another chance?”

I provide my take on Lance Armstrong’s upcoming confession of doping here:

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Welcome to The Sports Ethicist

Whether one is a participant, a casual spectator, a die-hard fan, or a critic, sport, in all its varieties and forms, play a significant role in the lives of most people through out the world. Sports and competitions have long been a part of human civilization and raise a wide range of important philosophical and ethical issues. This blog will examine these issues and explore both the ethical implications of sport and the ways sport can teach us about ethics and human life.


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