Sports, Virtues and Vices: Morality Plays, 1st Edition (e-Book) book cover

Sports, Virtues and Vices

Morality Plays, 1st Edition

By Mike McNamee


236 pages

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Sports have long played an important role in society. By exploring the evolving link between sporting behaviour and the prevailing ethics of the time this comprehensive and wide-ranging study illuminates our understanding of the wider social significance of sport.

The primary aim of Sports, Virtues and Vices is to situate ethics at the heart of sports via ‘virtue ethical’ considerations that can be traced back to the gymnasia of ancient Greece. The central theme running through the book is that sports are effectively modern morality plays: universal practices of moral education for the masses and - when coached, officiated and played properly - a valuable vehicle for ethical development.

Including a wealth of contemporary sporting examples, the book explores key ethical issues such as:

  • How the pursuit of sporting excellence can lead to harm
  • Doping, greed and shame
  • Biomedical technology as a challenge to the virtue of elite athletes
  • Defining a ‘virtue ethical account’ in sport
  • Family vices and virtues in sport

Written by one of the world's foremost sports philosophers, this book powerfully unites the fields of sports ethics and medical ethics. It is essential reading for all students and scholars with an interest in the ethics and philosophy of sport.


"…a valuable contribution to the literature on sport philosophy and an excellent resource for individuals seeking a thoughtful analysis of the impact of sport on moral life in community." Choice, January 2009

Table of Contents

Contents Introduction Ancient rituals and modern morality plays PART I Sports, Persons and Ethical Sport Chapter 1 What is this thing called sport? Chapter 2 Sports, persons and sportspersonship Chapter 3 Sports as practices Chapter 4 Sport and ethical development PART II Vicious and Virtuous Sport Chapter 5 Codes of conduct and trustworthy coaches Chapter 6 Racism, racist acts and courageous role models Chapter 7 Hubris, humility and humiliation Chapter 8 Schadenfreude: envy, justice and self-esteem PART III Sports Ethics, Medicine and Technology Chapter 9 Suffering in and for sport Chapter 10 Doping: slippery slopes, pleonexia and shame Chapter 11 Whose Prometheus? Transhumanism, Biotechnology and the moral topography of sports medicine

About the Author

Mike McNamee is Reader in Philosophy, in the Department of Philosophy, History and Law in Healthcare, School of Health Science at Swansea University, Wales. He was formerly President of the International Association for the Philosophy of Sport and the Founding Chair of the British Philosophy of Sport Association. He is series co-editor of Routledge’s successful ‘Ethics and Sport Series’ and is Editor of the international journal Sport, Ethics and Philosophy.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PHILOSOPHY / Ethics & Moral Philosophy
SPORTS & RECREATION / Sociology of Sports