The Philosophy of Sport: The basics.

I have a contract with Bloomsbury to produce a text book on the philosophy of sport. This seems quite timely as with the London 2012 Olympics, I have received many requests recently to discuss philosophical and ethical issues in sport, as well as being invited by the Royal Institute of Philosophy to give a lecture as part of their Philosophy of Sport series.

So I’m going to use this blog as a medium in which to get things going on my book. Here’s a summary of content:

The aim of this book is to provide an accessible but comprehensive guide to the main issues in the philosophy of sport. It will cover key issues, ideas and literature in the philosophy of sport, including the concept and definition of sport, the relationship between sport and the body, the aesthetic value of sport, as well as an overview of several contemporary ethical concerns in sport including doping, violence and sexual equality. This will be complemented by short interviews with experts, questions to aid revision, an extensive glossary and suggestions for further reading.

The book is due to be published sometime in 2014 – though it’ll probably be towards the end of the year.

If you’ve got any specific thoughts or questions on what’s going to be included then get in touch.


3 thoughts on “The Philosophy of Sport: The basics.

  1. There’s a fascinating question about the nature of sports participation (understood to include both player and spectator) and the extent to which it resembles participation with works of fiction (understood in the broad, and influential, Waltonian sense).

    Ken Walton has written on this in a widely circulated but I believe as yet unpublished draft. I also have a draft criticizing his position. Let me know if the topic sounds of interest.

    I can be reached at



  2. I was always interested in how can it be possible for professional athletes, such as football players and so on, to recieve huge amounts of money for their work and yet their work really doesnt contribute to anything in society. They just kick balls. Firemen, policemen save lives, for instance. How can we even compare what firemen and footballers do? Saving lives and kicking balls.
    Should sport be professional?

    • That’s a good point and one that is often made by those opposed to professional footballers (and other sporting equivalents) getting paid lots of money for doing something that’s not very ‘useful’ for society. But I suppose you could make the same argument for any artist earning money. The point is that there is a market for the goods they produce, be it scuptures, paintings, music, dance, acting, writing… and so on. Is Tracy Emmin’s ‘Unmade Bed’ worth millions? Of course it isn’t. Except when someone is prepared to pay that much for it. It’s the same with footballers and other high profile athletes. That’s capitalism for you. Things are only worth as much as someone’s prepared to pay.

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