International Journal of Applied Philosophy

Volume 28, Issue 2, Fall 2014

S. P. Morris
Pages 391-407

The Sport Status of Hunting

Applying Bernard Suits’s conceptual definition of game-playing, and his outline of a conceptual definition of sport, I ask and answer the following question: can hunting be a sport? An affirmative answer is substantiated via the following logic. Premise one, all sports are games. Premise two, a game is a voluntary attempt to overcome unnecessary obstacles. Premise three, fair-chase hunters voluntarily accept unnecessary obstacles. Conclusion one: fair-chase hunting is a game. Premise four, a sport can be defined as a game that requires the exercise of physical skill, has a wide following, and institutional stability. Premise five, some fair-chase hunts require physical skill, have a wide following, and have institutional stability. Conclusion two: fair-chase hunting that requires physical skill, has a wide following, and institutional stability is a sport. After substantiating each premise and conclusion I consider and refute several important objections. Primarily, (1) that hunting lacks constitutive rules and (2) that hunting lacks volitional engagement and thus cannot be a game or sport.

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