Aretism : An Ancient Sports Philosophy for the Modern Sports World

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Aretism: An Ancient Sports Philosophy for the Modern Sports World provides a tripartite model of sports ethics founded on ancient Greek principles and focused on personal, civic, and global integration. Heather Reid and Mark Holowchak apply these concepts as a "golden mean" between the extremes of the commercialist and recreational models of competition. This treatment is most applicable to students and academics concerned with the philosophy of sport, but will also be of interest to those in sports professions.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 234 pages
  • 149.86 x 228.6 x 22.86mm | 498.95g
  • Lexington Books
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • 0739148818
  • 9780739148815

Review quote

With the news dominated by college sports scandals, and professional athletics by strikes, lockouts, and superstar athletes' demands for ever larger contracts, this book's claim that contemporary sports is dominated by a martial/commercial model rings true. The commercial aspect is all too apparent. The martial aspect emphasizes winning at all costs, treats opponents as the enemy, and embraces aggression and individualism as means to external goals. This book also rejects an opposite approach-the aesthetic/recreational model, which sees sports as just for fun. Instead Holowchak (Rider Univ.) and Reid (Morningside College) propose returning sports to the ancient Greek ideal of arete, or excellence. Aretism demands 'respect for human limitations' as well as the view that 'victory in sport has no intrinsic value and that competitive sport is a good insofar as it is a means to human improvement.' The authors offer aretism as the Aristotelian mean between the martial/commercial and aesthetic/recreational approaches. Sports in higher education should promote virtue (in the sense of arete) or be abolished, which the authors acknowledge is not likely to happen. Copious endnotes to the 22 chapters and a good index make this book a useful resource. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-level undergraduates and above; general readers. CHOICE Aretism: An Ancient Sports Philosophy for the Modern Sports World is accessible, rigorous, and contains numerous historical and contemporary sporting examples that are both helpful and interesting. It will be very beneficial as a text in courses dealing with the history and philosophy of sport. The book could also be profitably used in a more general course in ethics. Aretism should be read by academics and students interested in the history, philosophy, and contemporary significance of sport. Moreover, I would urge athletes, coaches, administrators, fans, parents, and other sport practitioners to read and then seek to cultivate in their respective contexts this valuable and excellent approach to the human practice of sport. Journal of the Philosophy of Sport Their book provides a substantial and necessary critique of modern sport, yet pushes back against those who envision school-related sport as merely recreational. ... Each chapter is less than 10 pages in length, allowing a snapshot of important issues and engagement with numerous (and predominantly) American sporting examples... Many examples will resonate with readers, while each is supported by concise argumentation. For instance, a particular strength of the book is its timely raising of significant examples that question gender stereotypes and inequalities in sport. ... The book broadens educators' perspectives and provides another avenue for the incorporation of virtue-based ethics. The Journal of Catholic Education Aretism is a subtle and engaging attempt to show historical connections between the prized character traits of classical antiquity and modern commercialized sports. Written in uncluttered prose and full of great examples, it is an accessible and thought-provoking re-statement of sporting virtues. -- Michael McNamee, Swansea University Aretism will be one of the most valuable books for those interested in the history of sport, and even more so for those who want to think about the cultural significance of sport-and its problems-in our own times. Reid and Holowchak have thought long and hard about these issues, and this book is a gift to us all. -- Drew A. Hyland, Trinity College Just what we have come to expect from these two authors: a broad sweep at the historical level, a comprehensive account at the theoretical level, married with punchy and insightful analyses of particular issues and events. The sheer scope of the enterprise, together with the telling detail, is astonishing. I read this like an 'I couldn't put it down' novel. An impressive achievement. -- Jim Parry, University of Leeds
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About Heather Reid

M. Andrew Holowchak teaches philosophy at Rider University. His books include Happiness and Greek Ethics, Critical Reasoning & Philosophy, Ancient Science and Dreams: Oneirology in Greco-Roman Antiquity, Philosophy of Sport: Crucial Readings, Critical Issues, and The Stoics: A Guide for the Perplexed. Heather L. Reid is professor and chair of philosophy at Morningside College and author of Philosophy and Athletics in Ancient Greece and Rome: Contests of Virtue and The Philosophical Athlete.
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Table of contents

Chapter 1 Preface Part 2 PART I. How Did Sports Get Here From There? Chapter 3 Chapter 1. The Roots of Competitive Sport Chapter 4 Chapter 2. Medieval, Renaissance, and Enlightenment Sport Chapter 5 Chapter 3. Compensatory Athleticism Chapter 6 Chapter 4. Sport Propagandized Chapter 7 Chapter 5. Sport Commodified Part 8 PART II. What is Wrong With Sports Today? Chapter 9 Chapter 6. The Martial/Commercial Model Chapter 10 Chapter 7. Drugs and Competitive Sport Chapter 11 Chapter 8. Problems of Performance Enhancement Chapter 12 Chapter 9. Gender, Aggression, and Violence Chapter 13 Chapter 10. Sport by the Numbers Chapter 14 Chapter 11. Sensationalism and Ego-Puffing Part 15 PART III. Why Can't We Just Enjoy Sports? Chapter 16 Chapter 12. The Aesthetic/Recreational Model Chapter 17 Chapter 13. Aesthetic Spectacle Chapter 18 Chapter 14. Playful Integrity Chapter 19 Chapter 15. The Aesthetics of Journeying Chapter 20 Chapter 16. Beauty as Unity Chapter 21 Chapter 17. Economy of Performance Part 22 PART IV. How Should Sports Be Reformed? Chapter 23 Chapter 18. The Aretic Model Chapter 24 Chapter 19. Aretism and Values Chapter 25 Chapter 20. Aretism and Education Chapter 26 Chapter 21. Aretism and Society Chapter 27 Chapter 22. Is Sport a Good?
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