Browsing Philosophic Exchange by Subject "Value Of Sport"
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On Weiss on Records and on the Significance of Athletic RecordsAthletic records cannot provide complete insight into the nature of an athletic event. However, certainly they can provide at least some approximation of what happened, and that is enough to justify the significant interest that we take in athletic records.
On Weiss on Records, Athletic Activity, and the AthleteProfessor Weiss and I agree in denying that the end or goal of athletic activity can be adequately characterized in terms of setting records. However, we seem to disagree about the fundamental nature and goal of athletic activity. Professor Weiss’s athlete strikes me as a kind of fanatic, whose athletic activity excludes other goals and projects. By contrast, I would argue that the goal of athletic activity is the intrinsic enjoyment that one may derive from it, and this goal is perfectly compatible with having many other goals and projects in life.
Records and the ManAthletic records are cherished because of their assumed impartiality and objectivity. However, athletic records do not fully and accurately describe the events that they purport to describe. That is because athletic records do not take account of the myriad factors that influence the outcome of any athletic event. Contingency, novelty, luck, obstacles and opportunities all make a difference to what is achieved. Since records abstract from all of these, they do not tell us what did occur, but only the outcome of a multitude of factors of which we take no notice. The singular goal of an athlete is to make maximal use of his body to attain an outstanding result in the particular situation in which he finds himself.