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November 27, 2019 / Congau

Philosophy of Sport?

Sing the song of sports if you feel like it. By all means, celebrate the healthy body (of a healthy mind presumably), admire the body control of great athletes and search for the deeper meaning in the fighting of those modern-day gladiators who have turned into non-violent gentlemen. Sure thing, the aesthetically inclined can envision the likeness between sports and art and find symmetry and order there, no less than in other human pursuits. No doubt you can reflect on sports as long as you want and listen to endless televised analyses by sports journalists and other serious thinkers.

Sports is certainly not a joke, but to call it a philosophy is rather a stretch.

Sure enough, one can philosophize about any human activity, including stamp collection and shoe making, and refer to it as philosophy of whatever, and the point is not to stingily protect the honorable name of philosophy, but there should be a minimum connection to a reasonable meaning of the word.

Philosophy isn’t just any thinking about anything; if it were, the term would have been quite redundant. Rather it signifies a purity of thought, that is, thinking that doesn’t start from specific physical objects, like the sciences do, but rather begins as abstraction and then works its way toward physical objects if necessary.

Philosophy of art, for example, would be a philosophy proper in that it first reflects on the general nature of art and only treats actual works of art as instances of this generality.

The so-called philosophy of sport necessarily observes athletics as it’s being exhibited and only then starts to reflect on it, so it is rather a part of the science of sport.

Everything worth reflecting on is not a philosophy, but fine, if it really makes feel better while jogging or watching football in your armchair, call it philosophy.

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