Emotion in Sports : Philosophical Perspectives book cover
1st Edition

Emotion in Sports
Philosophical Perspectives

ISBN 9780367520007
Published March 31, 2021 by Routledge
158 Pages

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Book Description

Emotion is central to human character, infiltrating our physiological functions and our mental constitution. In sport, athletes feel emotion in specific ways, from joy to anger and despair.

This is the first book to examine emotion in sport from a philosophical perspective, building on concepts developed by ancient Greek and modern philosophers. For instance, how is Aristotle’s concept of catharsis applied to the sports field? How about power as advanced by Nietzsche, or existentialism as discussed by Kierkegaard? Emotion in Sports explores the philosophical framework for the expression of emotion and relates it to our psychological understanding, from the perspective of both athlete and spectator.

A fascinating and useful read for students, researchers, scholars, and practitioners in the fields of sport sciences, philosophy, and psychology.

Table of Contents


Part I: Theoretical Framework

1 Catharsis of Emotions

2 The Question of Affect-Impact and Collective Dimension of Emotions

3 The Feeling of Power and Power Relations

4 Quality of Sentiments

Part II: Sport-Specific Emotions (SSE)

5 Fear, Anxiety, Pain, Suffering, and the Question of Authenticity

6 Other Specific Feelings in Sporting Context: Anger, Depression (or Despair), Envy, Guilt, Sadness et al

7 Other Specific Feelings in Sporting Context: Ambition, Euphoria, Hubris, Pride et al

Part III: Care of Emotions

8 ‘Sentimental Education’ of Athletes

9 Therapeutic Treatment of Emotions in Sporting Practice

10 Emotion vs. Action: Physiological, Psychological, Linguistic, and Rational Aspects of Emotion



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Yunus Tuncel teaches Philosophy at The New School, New York, USA and in New York University’s Liberal Studies Program. He is a member of the International Association for the Philosophy of Sport (IAPS) and is co-founder of the Nietzsche Circle, serving on its Board of Directors and the Editorial Board of its electronic journal, The Agonist. In addition to Nietzsche and history of philosophy, he is interested in 20th-century French thought and recent artistic, philosophical, and cultural movements, including postmodernity and post-humanism. His primary areas of research are art, dance, experiences of the body in general, culture, music, myth, sports, and spectacle. He is interested in the fusion of art, sport, and philosophy in various cultural formations.


This book starts from the premise that 'we are all configurations of repressed emotions'. This is especially clear in sports. Investigating sport-specific emotions such as catharsis, power, and joy, Tuncel offers a ground-breaking theory for understanding these emotions and their value for sports philosophically, while also examining critically therapeutic interventions addressing emotional problems in sport. In so doing, Tuncel makes a much-needed contribution to current debates on the spirit and value of sports. He further helps the philosophy of sport move forward by introducing, amongst others, Spinoza's affect theory and Nietzsche's theory of power in those debates. A great book for all philosophers of sport, interested in the role of emotions in sport!

M.S. Prange, Full Professor in Philosophy of Humanity, Culture and Society at Tilburg University, Tilburg School of Humanities, The Netherlands.

Sport is about action and bodily performance, but it is certainly also about emotions. Yunus Tuncel’s new book is the first book that treats the full range of emotions in sport from a philosophical as well as psychological perspective. Building on theoretical frameworks from Aristotle, Spinoza, Hume and Nietzsche he gives us a wonderful exposition of the importance and role of the wide variety of sport-specific emotions. A very impressive piece of work!

Gunnar Breivik, Professor of Social Sciences and former Rector at the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences, Norway.