Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Are video games a sport?

Organized competitions, teams, regular salaries, cash prizes, fans - welcome to the Cyberathlete Professional League (CPL). Are video games a sport? That is the question raised by Gloria Goodale in an article published in The Christian Science Monitor (link below). The competitors regard themselves as athletes and as being engaged in sport. There are no sticks, no balls, and the competitors might not even break a sweat (or if they do, it may be more likely that it is due to being in poor physical health).

Chess, poker, hot dog eating, skateboarding, golf, baseball, figure skating, swimming, soccer/football, video games - which of these are sports? What do you think?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Taking steroids is only natural...

...according to Alva Noe in this Salon article. One of the central points undergirding the view Noe expresses is as follows:

Human beings are and always have been a technological animal. Ours is a history of shared technological innovation. Sharpened stones and cave paintings show up 80,000 years ago in the archaeological record. We are natural by design; we are designed by nature and culture. Once this basic fact about ourselves is clearly in focus, we are forced to acknowledge that using of steroids or other performance-enhancing drugs does not cross a bright line when it comes to personal responsibility. The athlete's reliance on steroids is no different in principle from a reliance on training techniques, newly designed footwear, sunglasses, mitts, nutrition or the computer-graphic analysis of plays. We are what we do and are never entirely self-sufficient in determining the scope of what we can do.

Noe also makes the argument at the end of the article that steroids are not sufficient for the skill required to hit a homerun in MLB, or have the kind of career that high-profile players accused of doping have had. Their talent is not dependent on the performance-enhancing substances.

I am a purist, I suppose, and think the bans on steroids and other similar substances are justified. I think that steroids are different in principle from sunglasses, mitts, and good nutrition.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Philosophy of Sport on Twitter

In a further attempt to embrace web2.0 and not to be left behind (though perhaps it's really an indication of our sheep like tendency), both the International Association for the Philosophy of Sport and the British Philosophy of Sport Association are now on Twitter.