Holism and the Cultivation of Excellence in Sports and Performance : Skillful Striving book cover
1st Edition

Holism and the Cultivation of Excellence in Sports and Performance
Skillful Striving

ISBN 9780367028282
Published January 11, 2019 by Routledge
378 Pages

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Book Description

Holism and the Cultivation of Excellence in Sports and Performance is a multi-methodological and cross-cultural examination of how we flourish holistically through performative endeavors, e.g., sports, martial and performing arts. Relying primarily on sport philosophy, value theory, phenomenology, philosophy of mind, pragmatism, and East Asian philosophies (Japanese and Chinese), it espouses thick holism. Concerned with an integrative bodymind gradually achieved through performance that aims at excellence, the process of self-cultivation proper of thick holism relies on an ecologically rich epistemic landscape where skills are coupled to virtues in pragmatic contexts. Ultimately, this process results in admirable performances and exemplary character. Japanese (practices of self-cultivation) are prominent modes and models of such flourishing. A holistic and radically enactive approach that advances contentless capacities in lieu of representations transparently accounts for the kind of action that characterizes such expert performances. Importantly, these performer-centered endeavors unfold within communities that foster the cultivation of our abilities as lifelong quests for human excellence. Each chapter can be read independently but still forms part of a continuous argumentative and narrative thread. This book was previously published as a special issue of Sport, Ethics and Philosophy.

Table of Contents


Introduction. Skillful Striving: Holism and the Cultivation of Excellence in Sports and Performative Endeavors.

1. Nothing New Under the Sun—Holism and the Pursuit of Excellence.

2. William James—Pragmatic Pioneer.

3. John Dewey—Experiential Maverick.

4. José Ortega y Gasset: Exuberant Steed.

5. Zhuangzi—Playful wanderer.

6. Waking Up From The Cognitivist Dream—The Computational View of the Mind and High Performance.

7. Riding The Wind—Consummate Performance, Phenomenology, and Skillful Fluency.

8. Fractured Action—Choking in Sport and its Lessons for Excellence.

9. Reflections on a Katana— The Japanese Pursuit of Performative Mastery.

10. Everything Mysterious Under the Moon—Social Practices and Situated


Appendix. Much Ado About Nothing.

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Jesús Ilundáin-Agurruza is Professor and Chair of the Department of Philosophy at Linfield College. In 2013-2015 he served as president of the International Association for the Philosophy of Sport (IAPS). His research and publications focus on and integrate sport philosophy, East Asian philosophy (especially Japanese), phenomenology, and philosophy of mind. He has recently published Cycling—Philosophy for Everyone: A Philosophical Tour the Force (2010).