Monday, March 28, 2011

Call for Papers

International Association for the Philosophy of Sport in conjunction with the APA Eastern Division Meeting December 27-30, 2011, in Washington, D.C.

The International Association for the Philosophy of Sport invites the submission of papers to be considered for presentation at the 2011 American Philosophical Association Eastern Division Meeting.  Papers are welcome on any area of philosophy of sport from any theoretical approach.  Presenters must be members of both APA and IAPS and pay regular conference registration fees.  For more information on IAPS, go to Papers should have an appropriate scope and length for a twenty-minute presentation.

To be considered, please submit a 500-800 word abstract of the paper by May 10, 2011.  Abstracts should be submitted as attachments by e-mail [.doc, .docx, .rtf, or .pdf format] to Only those contributors who do not have access to e-mail should send a hard copy to Joan Grassbaugh Forry at the address below.

Submitting authors will be notified of the acceptance or rejection of their papers by May 30, 2011.

Dr. Joan Grassbaugh Forry
Vanderbilt University
111 Furman Hall
Nashville, TN 37240

Monday, March 21, 2011

GB athletes pull out of wheelchair marathon

30 January 2011

The final day of the World Paralympic Athletics Championships in Christchurch ended in chaos and confusion with top athletes refusing to race on a marathon course they describe as unsafe.

Here are a number of issues . . . .

• By not closing roads off to traffic, are organisers forcing athletes to participate in a different sport- more like an ‘extreme’ version of wheelchair marathon racing with the added task of having to dodge cars- more of an achievement to finish rather than a sporting contest?

• Athlete withdrawals devalue the competition, and winning becomes less of an achievement.

• There are issues of fairness to athletes who have prepared for a contest under a specific set of terms and conditions to be given a new set of parameters and tests that arguably are not related to their sport.

• Compromising athlete safety and the de-valuing of a world championship event may also discourage potential sponsors or spectators from investing in the sport.

The Bigger Picture . . .

There is a popular belief that the Olympic games and the Paralympic games run equally beside each other. However, in many ways this is a misconception.

Separate but Equal?

For practical reasons, the Olympic Games and the Paralympics cannot be incorporated as one event. For instance, stadiums have certain capacities and cannot cater of spectators for both games. Additional problems include the necessary technological modifications in facilities and equipment and the unrealistic time scale that both games would require. For this reason the games are held separately whereby the Paralympic games run two weeks after the Olympics. Arguably this timescale subtracts the focus from the Paralympic games as an after-thought. A possible alternative is to hold the Paralympic games as its own event in a separate year.

Recent literature has also explored idea’s that separate cannot be equal. This is evident, for example, in the categorisation of events according to gender (baseball, softball, synchronized swimming, boxing). Nevertheless, there are also strong arguments for the view that maintaining the Paralympics will lead to a reduction in the inequalities between able bodied and disabled bodied competition.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Athlete Whereabouts & Professional Sport Unions

At the recent European Professional Sportspeople’s forum, FIFPro, the worldwide representative organisation that promotes the interests of over 50,000 footballers from 43 member unions raised their concerns over the current system of whereabouts.

• The main issue discussed was whether professional sportsmen and women are to be viewed primarily as employees and so subject first and foremost to European and National employment laws,
• Due to the ‘specificity of sport’ they should be subject to governing body rules rather than general extra-judicial procedures implemented by WADA and IF’s.

Whilst vehemently taking an anti-doping stance, FIFPro raised the following concerns regarding the whereabouts system.

• The current system does not sufficiently consider the agency and liberties of athletes as human beings, often neglecting their fundamental rights as sportspeople. Interpreting full-time athletes as employees within sport suggests that testing outside of competition or training exploits a competitor’s privacy and rights as an individual.

• Implementation of the whereabouts system is not universal and is therefore not applied equally to all athletes.

• The outcome of failing to attend three doping tests creates the same punishment as a test that produces positive results. It could be argued that ‘strict liability’ produces too broad a spectrum for implementation of punishment and doesn’t cater for individual or specific cases.

• Current anti-doping laws shape sport, whereas it should realistically be reversed. Training and competition needs should take precedence over restrictions to an athlete’s training programme that may be the result of the whereabouts system.

• It can be argued that the punishment (up to 2 year ban) is too strict, especially when we consider that an athlete may be banned on the basis that they have demonstrated forgetfulness or disorganisation etc as opposed to a failed drugs test.

• For those that are part of a team sport, doping tests and the whereabouts system should be incorporated into training regimes as such demands already provide sufficient information on whereabouts.

Go to to see an example of how some athlete groups are starting to respond to governance issue in their sport

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Graduate Study in the Philosophy of Sport

Philosophy of sport is alive and well, with numerous scholarly associations and individuals working in the field.  And yet for those who are interested in pursuing a graduate degree in the field, it can be difficult to ascertain where to go and who the potential graduate advisors/supervisors might be. After all, it's not like there are "Philosophy of Sport" departments, and many philosophers of sport aren't housed in philosophy departments. This can make the search difficult.

I asked this once a  couple of years ago, but am doing so again here for the sake of such potential students and for the sake of the field.  In the comments, tell us about philosophers of sport who work in graduate programs that are accepting students for this type of work. Thanks!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

IAPS 2011 Conference Website

 For more information, see the link. Here's a bit from the site:

The 2011 conference promises to be a special one, as it signifies a homecoming for IAPS. The first full conference of the then Philosophical Society for the Study of Sport (PSSS) was hosted at Brockport in November of 1973. In addition, many PSSS and IAPS scholars, including some past presidents, have taught at the College and/or presented papers for its annual Sport Philosophy Lecture. At the head of this list is Dr. Warren P. Fraleigh, one of the Association’s founders, who will be honored during the 2011 conference.
We are also looking forward to honoring Dr. Jim Parry, who will deliver the 2011 Distinguished Scholar Lecture during the conference, and Dr. Cesar R. Torres, who will give his Presidential Address after completing his two-year term as IAPS President. We also anticipate an outstanding program of academic presentations and panels to be offered by IAPS members from around the world, including a keynote address by Dr. J. S. Russell.