By Daniel A. Dombrowski
Regardless of their effect in our tradition, activities encourage dramatically much less philosophical attention than such ostensibly weightier subject matters as faith, politics, or technology. Arguing that athletic playfulness coexists with critical underpinnings, and that either call for extra sizeable recognition, Daniel Dombrowski harnesses the insights of historic Greek thinkers to light up modern athletics.
Dombrowski contends that the guidelines of Plato, Aristotle, and Plotinus shed vital mild on issues—such because the pursuit of excellence, the concept that of play, and the facility of accepting actual boundaries whereas additionally enhancing one’s body—that stay simply as appropriate in our sports-obsessed age as they have been in historic Greece. Bringing those thoughts to endure on modern issues, Dombrowski considers such questions as even if athletic festival could be a ethical alternative for struggle, even if it inevitably constitutes struggle via different capacity, and no matter if it encourages fascist developments or moral advantage. the 1st quantity to philosophically discover twenty-first-century game within the context of its old predecessor, modern Athletics and historic Greek beliefs unearths that their courting has nice and formerly untapped strength to notify our realizing of human nature.
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Extra info for Contemporary Athletics and Ancient Greek Ideals
They have been “Platonists” in this regard, even if Plato’s dialogues indicate an extensive and nuanced understanding of athletics, as we will see at the end of the present chapter. Weiss is on thin ice when he links this prejudice with a different historical prejudice against slaves and those in lower economic classes. The issue is complicated because the physical activities of ancient athletes, even of modern athletes until the late nineteenth century, were mostly performed by the relatively wealthy.
Of course the biggest danger for historians, in general, and historians of philosophy, in particular, is anachronism. Hence, we might feel a bit skittish in thinking that Plato’s Academy and Aristotle’s Lyceum were something like contemporary North American college campuses. But Miller seems to suggest that there might not be as wide a gap as we might initially suppose between contemporary academic life in North America and that in antiquity: “Both gymnasia were in Athens: the Akademy at the northwest of the city, and the Lykeion to the east.
This is due to the rather wide gap he usually sees between the playful activities of children and the inability of sound-minded adults to really play (Weiss 1969, 24). The challenge that Weiss poses to proponents of the play theory of athletics like Huizinga and Feezell is clear: Sometimes it is said that we must make men play, but what is then intended is a reference to the necessity that they relax. We want them to stop taking themselves so seriously, and to begin to enjoy something, or themselves, for a time.
Contemporary Athletics and Ancient Greek Ideals by Daniel A. Dombrowski