Philosophical Theories of Sport


Philosophical theories of sport may take two main forms: descriptive and normative. Descriptive theories attempt to give a thorough account of the core concepts of sport, while normative theories try to determine what should not be done. Both types of theories can be either internalist or externalist. Externalist theories draw primarily on structuralism and Marxism. William J. Morgan describes three main types of externalist theories: Commodification, utility, and social practice.

While the British “play up and play the game” philosophy is perhaps what inspired early American sports, winning came to be more significant in the late nineteenth and early 20th centuries. Donald Mrozek, a social historian, traced the origins of victory philosophy in sport to the spirit of social efficiency. This philosophy, which encouraged cooperation among individuals, was widely adopted by contemporary business leaders. In other words, winning was the primary objective of most sports.

The competitive nature of sport encourages people to cheat in order to increase their chances of winning and obtaining financial gain. There are many sources of motivation for this, and widespread betting on sporting events provides a great incentive to fix the results. Using performance-enhancing drugs, such as steroids, or artificial means such as blood-pressure increase, are two examples of cheating in sport. In either case, it is wrong to cheat in any sport. Nonetheless, there are some exceptions to this rule.

The definition of sport is subjective, and there is no universal consensus. Michael Brown (2016) defines sport as “physical activity where one person tries to defeat another person.” Sports may also include recreational activities, such as playing golf, gymnastics, and ice activities. Aside from competitive games, sport can also involve spontaneous exercises that improve physical skills, mental relaxation, and bodily fitness. Though sport is enjoyable, there are many negative aspects associated with it. Injuries, fatigue, and even death are common risks of playing sports.

Extreme sports involve a high degree of risk. BASE jumping, for instance, is an extreme sport. Non-extreme sports include swimming and water activities. The broad definition of sport, however, doesn’t specify how high of a risk someone is exposed to. As a result, the term is sometimes used to describe both types of sports. In addition, it fails to distinguish between social-demographic factors, life style, and psychological variables.

Multisport events are multi-sport events made up of components of different sports, including athletics, and sometimes even board games. These competitions are known as triathlons, tetrathlons, and pentathlons. Athletes also participate in motorized sports, such as skateboarding. For spectators, sport is a way to stay entertained and active. For participants, sport is an essential part of life. Whether it’s for professional athletes or spectators, it’s an opportunity to express oneself and improve the quality of life.

Social and spatial diffusion were important factors in spreading modern sports from the British Isles. By allowing amateur sports to flourish, many sports that originated elsewhere were adapted and modernized. For example, the communist countries of eastern Europe became the dominant force in modern sport, with East Germany winning the Olympic Games with a population of sixteen million. While these countries didn’t have access to advanced scientific equipment, they nevertheless outscored the United States by 15-fold, thanks to the use of banned substances and the application of scientific methods in sports.

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