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Conference on Ethics and Sport

Saturday, 3 November 2018

Conference on Ethics and Sport

A day long conference organised by the School of Religions (TCD).

For the romantics among us sport is a parable of life at its innocent best, the world as it ought to be, the ideal for a moment realised. Sport is an expression of optimism: enshrouding sports lovers with a redemptive feeling, melting away depression, pain and bitter disappointment, hinting at a bygone age of innocence and values that no longer obtain. In this perspective the Olympic ideal, The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well, has enduring significance.

Sadly these lofty ideals increasingly seem anachronistic given the spate of recent scandals which have blighted the image of sport. Sport is a microcosm of society. If our language is part of who we are our sports actually tell us who we are. When we know the way winners and losers are treated in sport and the way rules are enforced, then we know a great deal about the larger society in which it exists. Conversely, if we know the social, economic and political values of a society we could make an inspired guess about how its sport is organized. The defects we find in sport: cheating, violence and drug abuse are an integral part of the wider society.

Increasingly sport is becoming identified with the culture of the survival of the fittest. This involves subordinating everything else in sport to winning. This approach was encapsulated in the popular saying attributed to the famous American coach, Vince Lombardi, ‘Winning isn't all-important, it's the only thing.’

Sports stars today are confronted by an environment which is complex, competitive and demanding. Their inherited values and ethics do not always prepare them to address confidently the issues that chemical advances have presented to them. These issues confront our society in general but our ethical tradition offers us no ready answers. The result is moral uncertainty and confusion.

Campus LocationTrinity Long Room Hub Arts and Humanities Research Institute
Accessibility: Yes
Room: Neill Lecture Theatre
Event Category: Conferences, Lectures and Seminars, Public
Type of Event: One-time event
Audience: Undergrad, Postgrad, Alumni, Faculty & Staff, Public
Cost: Free (but registration is essential)
Contact Name: John Scally

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