Sport, Ethics and Philosophy 11 (1):40-51 (2017)

Authors
Heather Reid
Exedra Mediterranean Center, Siracusa, Sicily
Abstract
A common argument for the social value of sport is that athletes serve as heroes who inspire people – especially young people – to strive for excellence. This argument has been questioned by sport philosophers at a variety of levels. Not only do athletes seem unsuited to be heroes or role models in the conventional sense, it is unclear more generally what the social and educational value of athletic excellence could be. In this essay, I construct an argument for the social and educational value of sport built upon the relationship between athletes, heroes, and the song culture that celebrated them in ancient Greece. On this model, athletes are neither heroes nor role models in the conventional sense. Rather, athletes, athletics, and the poets who extolled them were part of a cultural conspiracy to celebrate and inspire virtue by connecting a community with its heroic past. Festivals such as the Olympic Games, but also local events such as funeral games, educated and unified communities by cultivating an aesthetic appreciation for virtue and by inspiring youth to strive for it. Ancient athletes were not heroes, rather they re-enacted heroic struggles, thereby experiencing heroic virtues, and inspiring both artists and spectators to bond with the higher ideals implied by their shared belief in divine ancestry. In this way, athletes, athletics, and the media that celebrated them played important social and educational roles. Insofar as modern sport performs a similar service, its association with heroism and with moral education may ultimately be justified.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Reprint years 2017
DOI 10.1080/17511321.2016.1261931
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 65,587
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

After Virtue.A. MacIntyre - 1981 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 46 (1):169-171.
A Greek-English Lexicon. [REVIEW]Paul Maas, H. G. Liddell, Robert Scott & Henry Stuart Jones - 1932 - Journal of Hellenic Studies 52 (1):150-152.
Is Our Admiration for Sports Heroes Fascistoid?Törbjörn Tännsjö - 1998 - Journal of the Philosophy of Sport 25 (1):23-34.
Drunken Role Models: Rescuing Our Sporting Exemplars.Carwyn Jones - 2011 - Sport, Ethics and Philosophy 5 (4):414 - 432.
Celebrated Athletes, Moral Exemplars, and Lusory Objects.Randolph Feezell - 2005 - Journal of the Philosophy of Sport 32 (1):20-35.

View all 10 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Why Olympia Matters for Modern Sport.Heather L. Reid - 2017 - Journal of the Philosophy of Sport 44 (2):159-173.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Doping is a Threat to Sporting Excellence.John William Devine - 2011 - British Journal of Sports Medicine 45 (8):637-639.
Drunken Role Models: Rescuing Our Sporting Exemplars.Carwyn Jones - 2011 - Sport, Ethics and Philosophy 5 (4):414 - 432.
Respecting Privacy in Detecting Illegitimate Enhancements in Athletes.Sarah Teetzel - 2007 - Sport, Ethics and Philosophy 1 (2):159 – 170.
Doping and Cheating.Jan Vorstenbosch - 2010 - Journal of the Philosophy of Sport 37 (2):166-181.
Paralympics Should Be Integrated Into Main Olympic Games.Carlo Bellieni - 2015 - Sport, Ethics and Philosophy 9 (1):75-82.
Elite Sport: Reification, Instrumentalization and Dignity.Philippe Sarremejane - 2015 - Sport, Ethics and Philosophy 9 (3):324-340.
Economic Exploitation in Intercollegiate Athletics.J. Angelo Corlett - 2013 - Sport, Ethics and Philosophy 7 (3):295 - 312.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2016-12-03

Total views
54 ( #201,559 of 2,461,919 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
6 ( #119,127 of 2,461,919 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes