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OLYMPISM: ETHICAL ISSUES The last of a series of three Gresham lectures, in the run-up to the London Olympic Games 2012, that consider the ethical and.

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Presentation on theme: "OLYMPISM: ETHICAL ISSUES The last of a series of three Gresham lectures, in the run-up to the London Olympic Games 2012, that consider the ethical and."— Presentation transcript:

1 OLYMPISM: ETHICAL ISSUES The last of a series of three Gresham lectures, in the run-up to the London Olympic Games 2012, that consider the ethical and political values of the Olympic Movement, and their educational application. Prof Dr Jim Parry Charles University in Prague

2 'Olympism' not just the elite athlete, but everyone not just a short truce period, but the whole of life not just competition and winning, but also the values of participation and co- operation not just sport as an activity, but also as a formative and developmental influence

3 Olympism 2 a universal social philosophy which emphasises the role of sport: in world development international understanding peaceful co-existence social and moral education.

4 Philosophical anthropology The philosophical anthropology of Olympism promotes the ideals of: individual all round harmonious development towards excellence and achievement through effort in competitive sporting activity under conditions of mutual respect, fairness, justice and equality with a view to creating lasting personal human relationships of friendship; international relationships of peace, toleration and mutual understanding; and cultural alliances with the arts

5 Concept of Sport physical (effort) physical (effort) not chess contest (‘contract to contest’ - competition contest (‘contract to contest’ - competition not mountaineering and excellence) not mountaineering and excellence) rule-governed (fair play, equality and justice) rule-governed (fair play, equality and justice) not field sports institutionalised (‘lawful authority’) institutionalised (‘lawful authority’) not hula-hooping shared values and commitments (respect) shared values and commitments (respect)

6 Olympism 3 The ‘thin’ values underpinning the rule structures of sport include: fairnessequality respect for others rule-adherencecontract-keeping

7 Olympism 4 In addition, the ethos of Olympism emphasises values of: friendship mutual understanding peace respect for others’ cultures And sporting practices bring awareness of possibilities of: international co-operation mutual respect and mutual valuing

8 Fair Play The essence of Olympic sport is ethical competition, and THIS is what produces personal and social goods. So: Olympism = ethical sport as an educative influence And the basis of all of this is the idea of Fair Play, usually thought of as: a virtue of rule-adherence a ‘spirit of sport’ leading to super-erogatory actions a general attitude towards sport (and even life itself) involving respect for others, modesty in victory, serenity in defeat and generosity towards others a behavioural ideal for moral education

9 Fair Play as the Logic of Sport The primary nature of fair play in sport is: not as a moral requirement of virtue, nor an exhortation to behave well (in moral terms), nor as a Weltanschauung nor as an educational tool but rather as a logically necessary feature of successful engagement in the contest i.e. you can’t have sport without fair play! (cp. a traffic system)

10 Fair Play as the Logic of Sport To freely choose to be accepted into a community of sport practice entails a contractual obligation to duly respect the rules of the practice/institution, as its lawful authority. To subvert such a contract to contest: threatens the moral basis of sport, jeopardises the integrity of the sporting community erodes public support and trust. i.e. you will destroy sport (the very thing that gives you a platform!) (the very thing you pretend to value!) Self-defeating, self-contradictory behaviour – borderline psychotic

11 Ethical Issue 1 - Doping What’s wrong with doping? The usual answers: 1.drugs enhance performance 2.drugs allow athletes to train harder 3.drugs are unnatural 4.they coerce others to use them 5.they are harmful 6.they are illegal

12 Ethical Issue 1 - Doping So: What IS wrong with doping? it threatens the ethical basis of sport it abrogates the pre-competition agreement (the contract to contest) without which we can't have sport. (See BOA vs WADA, with a judgement to be decided on March 12th.)

13 Ethical Issue 2 - Gambling Dist btw sport-fraud and gambling-fraud Match-fixing can be one, the other, or both! Besiktas looks like sport-fraud Le Tissier/K Froch are gambling-fraud (but with a risk also of sport-fraud?) Nobbling a horse is both Dist btw illegal/irregular/unregulated betting Sports authorities are (only?) against unregulated betting. Why? Because they can’t profit from that! Beware sport/gambling symbiosis – better regulation, please!

14 Gambling: Cheating to Lose? Cheating = rule-breaking to gain advantage? (A sport-cheat cheats to win.) So is it ‘cheating’ if done for betting-gain? (Yes? - it has the potential to affect the outcome?) No? – it’s not cheating at football, if cheating is seeking a football-advantage. He’s cheating at gambling! (It’s gambling- fraud, not sport-fraud.) ‘Cheating to lose’ is only possible because, in gambling, one can win one thing (the bet) by losing another (the game).

15 Ethical Issue 3 - Amateurism Anglo-amateurism = keep workers out! (a class-based conspiracy – sports clubs were ‘gentlemen’s clubs’) Was not De Coubertin’s idea of amateurism: extrinsic goals tempt us from ethical sport intrinsic aims reject questionable means Fair or Temple?

16 Ethical Issue 4 - Violence Dist between aggression and violence Aggression:taking forceful means to your ends Violence: intending to harm So, you can be as aggressive as you like, but so long as you do not intend or risk harm, that’s non-violent. you do not intend or risk harm, that’s non-violent. And rules of team games reflect this distinction. Football and rugby permit any level of aggression, until/unless it threatens to harm, then it’s illegal. {Dist btw an act of violence and a violent act?}

17 Ethical Issue 5 - Deception How can sport be morally educative, when we teach children to deceive? (Feinting, dummying are just good tactics, right?) But isn’t deception also part of cheating? (Breaking a rule secretly …) Dist btw two different kinds of deception: Strategic Deception – within the rules – constitutive skills of the sport – constitutive skills of the sport Definitional Deception – going against the rules

18 Conclusion What do all of these examples show? That it is Fair Play, seen as the internal logic of sport, that provides the rationale for distinguishing good from bad practice: permissible from impermissible actions. Fair Play, the basis of the logic of sport, is also the foundation-stone of the ethics of sport.

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