Sport and the Àrtistic

Philosophy 60 (233):392 - 393 (1985)
Recently David Best has advanced the claim that sport is not an art form, and that although sport may be aesthetic, it is not artistic. Such a claim is false and runs counter to ordinary usage and sport practice. On behalf of sport practice, let me cite as an example the world-class Canadian skater, Toller Cranston, who thinks there are such things as ‘artistic sports, those being gymnastics, diving, figure skating’. Best claims that athletes like Cranston are conceptually confused and that they endow sport with greater respectability than should be allowed. Ascribing the predicate ‘artistic’ to sport performances reflects ‘barbarous usage’. Why does Best exclude the artistic from the realm of sport? Upon examination of his argument, one finds that this exclusion derives mainly from his concepts of art and sport. He thinks that art has a subject-matter, a content, and that sport does not. Sport is contentless, so ‘sport’ and ‘art’ are two logically distinct regions. But is this so? Are we to accept Best's argument or are we to listen to accomplished, reflective athletes in the area of artistic sports? It seems the most reasonable analytic procedure would be to listen to Cranston's case and decide whether such a piece of intentionalist criticism5 should override Best's premises
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DOI 10.1017/S0031819100070236
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David Best (1985). Sport is Not Art. Journal of the Philosophy of Sport 12 (1):25-40.
Steffen Borge (2015). An Agon Aesthetics of Football. Sport, Ethics and Philosophy 9 (2):97-123.
Spencer K. Wertz (1985). Representation and Expression in Sport and Art. Journal of the Philosophy of Sport 12 (1):8-24.
Andrew Edgar (2013). The Aesthetics of Sport. Sport, Ethics and Philosophy 7 (1):80 - 99.
Joy T. DeSensi (1985). PSSS Bibliography of Sport Philosophy—An Update. Journal of the Philosophy of Sport 12 (1):101-107.

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