Categories of Competition

Sport, Ethics and Philosophy 5 (4):433 - 446 (2011)
Abstract
In the first part of this paper, I argue that philosophers of sport have mistakenly privileged a specific psychology and purpose in their definitions of competition. The result of this mistake has been that philosophers of sport make generalisations about competition as such which in fact only hold for some competitions. In the second and third parts of the paper, I articulate an alternative approach: rather than search for a single psychology and purpose that underlies all competition, I argue that we should begin by acknowledging four distinctly different competitive formats, and only then enquire as to which psychologies and purposes are more or less appropriate to each format. This method allows us to capture the richness and diversity of competition, and helps to ensure that we do not confuse part and whole when defining it
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