Between the horns: A dilemma in the interpretation of the running of the bulls - part 1: The confrontation

Sport, Ethics and Philosophy 1 (3):325 – 345 (2007)
The essay, divided in two parts, examines the event of the running of the bulls (encierro in Spanish). The phenomenon of the encierro, a complex cultural activity of deep historical roots, demands to be understood: What drives people to risk injury or death at the horns of untamed bulls? How should we make sense of this, subjective and objectively? To answer these questions, I use a framework that relies on explanation and assessment of popular views on the way to arguing for a philosophical alternative. This arrangement is readily adaptable to many other sporting (and non-sporting) activities where risk and/or mass participation are key factors. Its unorthodox format ? organised around an opening narrative of a paradigmatic, skilled and lucky run with the bulls, as well as hors texte (direct appeals to the reader) ? brings the reader straight into the fray, philosophical and otherwise. Part I begins by presenting the history of the encierro. It also explains the dynamics of the event, often via images with pedagogical and critical side-commentaries. It proceeds to introduce and critically engage with prevalent explanations, most with ethnological tendencies, that conceive the running as tradition, rite, ritual and sport. This part ends with a dilemma whereby we either try to explain matters by resorting to particular and partial interpretations, or a ?democratic? conglomerate of superficial and confusing boundaries, or in the end we simply concede our inability to understand the phenomenon of the running of the bulls in toto. This philosophical impasse will be evaded in part 2 (Sport, Ethics and Philosophy 2, 1) via existentialist and phenomenological analysis
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1080/17511320701676940
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 23,664
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

28 ( #170,514 of 1,903,041 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

2 ( #324,600 of 1,903,041 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.