In an effort to get a sense of what philosophers are doing day-to-day, the blog has been asking them to share what they are teaching with us. What have they just lectured on in class?
Shawn Klein, faculty member at Arizona State University, School of History, Philosophy and Religious Studies, is teaching a course on sports ethics. Klein is the author of Defining Sport: Conceptions and Borderlines (Lexington 2016). This is the first book in Lexington Books’ Studies in the Philosophy of Sport series. The chapters in part one analyze different approaches to defining sport and in part two the chapters examine the interplay of borderline cases with these definitional approaches. He also authors The Sports Ethicist Blog and produces Examined Sport Podcast. The blog explores philosophical and ethical issues in around sport. Each 10-15 minute episode of Examined Sport focuses on an argument or concept in the philosophy of sport literature.
“Dangerous sport in its best exemplars, particularly those in which substantial bodily danger is an immediate and ever-present risk, represents an opportunity for confronting and pressing beyond certain apparent limits of personal, and indeed human, physical and psychological capacities in ways not afforded by other normally available human activity. Thus, I say that the dominant, distinctive value of dangerous sport consists of an activity of self-affirmation because dangerous sport invites us to confront and push back the boundaries of the self by creating contexts in which some of the ordinary bounds of our lives can be challenged. Hence, we discover and affirm who we are and what we can be by confronting and attempting to extend these boundaries. In this sense, dangerous sport is perfectionist. It tests us by requiring us to make the most of our whole selves, of our bodies and our minds working together as a unity, when (or because) everything, or almost everything, is at stake.”J.S. Russell (2005): The Value of Dangerous Sport, Journal of the Philosophy of Sport, 32:1, 1-19.