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International Journal of Applied Philosophy

Volume 15, Issue 1, Spring 2001

M. Andrew Holowchak
Pages 153-164

Excellence as Athletic Ideal
Autonomy, Morality, and Competitive Sport

Liberalism is the view that humans are independent, autonomous, and self-sufficient and, thus, institutional policy is warranted only when it advances these values. As an important thread in moral thought today, liberalism defines a good life as the complete freedom of all people to pursue their own desires, provided that little or no harm is done to others along the way. Moral liberalism also pervades the literature in philosophy of sport today. In this paper, I argue that liberalism as moral policy in sport is wrong because liberalism as moral policy is wrong. Human autonomy implies social responsibility, which moral liberalism today disavows. At paper’s end, I sketch out a normative account of sport, aretism, that fleshes out the types of responsibilities that bind athletes to sport, properly construed as a social institution.

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