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A Philosophy of Sport (book review) Steven Connor

270614: this is a book unlike the previous 'soccer and philosophy', in which sport demonstrates philosophical ideas, this is philosophy that comes out of sport. i find this more engaging, not simply in that it encompasses many sports, this work historically and philosophically investigates the entire and universal human behaviour of sport. look at the chapter titles: history, space, time, movement, equipment, rules, winning. all are as closely and critically examined, incisively, intelligently rendered, as any more typical philosophical topic. big names of both analytic- Wittgenstein- and continental- Heidegger, Sartre- show up. this is not a book to skim. this addresses the entire, physically essential, immature or tribal emotional and ethical absurdity of some manifestarions of sport, as the chosen, shared, ruled expression of human physical possibilities of being. there are appeals to Freud, to Sartre, to history and culture, to show all sports as ‘agon’, as conflict, as violence, tracing sport from hunting game to modern versions of medieval european football. there is much in here i did not know, much in here of close inspections of prejudice, of cheating, of contingency, of necessity- and how sports plays with them all. it ends with references of possible future of sport that is no longer humans against human opponents but humans against inflexible constraints of the natural world eg. gravity, ocean waves. and why it is suspect to call boxing a sport...

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