The Philosophy of Sports

What exactly is a sport? According to Michael Brown (2016), a sport is any physical activity in which the objective is to achieve a certain result. This definition excludes gymnastics, ice events, golf, archery, and markmanship competitions. In this sense, all forms of physical activity are sports. However, it can be argued that some activities are not sports at all. One example is the practice of boxing. Although boxing is not a sport, it is a form of physical activity, requiring mental and physical exertion.

Sports can also be thought of as social processes that help build a community. In the United States, for instance, sports help promote social integration by contributing to racial and gender diversity. Athletes have long been a social glue for the country. Historically, sports have also been a way to promote physical fitness, as early Americans stressed the importance of exercising. Many early Americans emphasized the benefits of physical exercise, promoting running and swimming. In the 20th century, American presidents have also encouraged physical activity.

According to this theory, sports are created through an implicit social contract, wherein participants agree to follow rules. In a traditional sense, this agreement provides normative validity for rules and conventions. Thus, it is not possible to play the game and break the rules simultaneously. Moreover, intentional rule violations would result in the end of the game. Therefore, these theories oppose doping and strategic fouling. These arguments are common in the philosophical literature and are discussed below.