By Daniel A. Dombrowski
Regardless of their effect in our tradition, activities motivate dramatically much less philosophical attention than such ostensibly weightier themes as faith, politics, or technological know-how. Arguing that athletic playfulness coexists with critical underpinnings, and that either call for extra great awareness, Daniel Dombrowski harnesses the insights of old Greek thinkers to light up modern athletics.
Dombrowski contends that the information of Plato, Aristotle, and Plotinus shed very important mild on issues—such because the pursuit of excellence, the idea that of play, and the ability of accepting actual barriers whereas additionally bettering one’s body—that stay simply as appropriate in our sports-obsessed age as they have been in historic Greece. Bringing those techniques to undergo on modern issues, Dombrowski considers such questions as even if athletic festival could be a ethical replacement for conflict, even if it unavoidably constitutes struggle by means of different skill, and no matter if it encourages fascist trends or moral advantage. the 1st quantity to philosophically discover twenty-first-century activity within the context of its historic predecessor, modern Athletics and historic Greek beliefs finds that their courting has nice and formerly untapped power to notify our figuring out of human nature.
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Extra resources for Contemporary Athletics and Ancient Greek Ideals
3. , the time when the Olympic Games started. Although the earliest identiﬁable deities worshipped at Olympia were various earth and agricultural goddesses (hence, the ﬁrst great temple at Olympia was dedicated to Hera), eventually the celebration of Zeus and other gods associated with speed and physical prowess dominated. , Olympia became a “Panhellenic” sanctuary that was a showcase for all things Greek. A plurality of mythical traditions was celebrated at Olympia, among which were the twelve labors (dodekathlon—perhaps a better translation would be “twelve athletic feats”) of Zeus’s son Herakles, including his cleansing of the stable of Augeas (who was the mythical king of Elis, the nearby “Olympic Village”).
Largely because of Weiss, one no longer has to apologize for taking a philosophical interest in athletics. If this were his only contribution to philosophy of athletics, he would deserve praise. But, in addition, he has left us with one of the most important philosophical conceptions of athletics with which those interested in this ﬁeld must contend, a conception that relies heavily on Greek philosophy: the concept of bodily arete. Weiss complains (mistakenly, I think) that none of the Greek philosophers discussed the nature of athletics in sufﬁcient detail, a neglect that became the norm for subsequent philosophers.
Likewise, a polo player becomes something of a contemporary centaur. That is, the boundary of the athletic individual often becomes the limit of the athletic equipment (Weiss 1969, chap. 5). But an athlete is not a puppet or an object. Athletes must decide on a strategy, conceived as a general course of action, as well as on more particular tactics. In many sports it is typically the coach who is responsible for the former. However, even if a coach decides on strategy, the particular athlete is not, or ought not to be, unreﬂective.