Sports are an essential part of human life and a great way to develop both physical fitness and social interaction skills. Regular participation in sports also helps to strengthen the heart and lowers cholesterol levels.
Spectators often enjoy watching sport because of its entertainment value. It can also provide a sense of competition and reward, and it is widely viewed as a virtuous activity.
There are a variety of philosophical theories about the nature and purpose of sport. Some of these theories are descriptive (explanatory) and others are normative.
Descriptive theories aim to give an accurate account of the central concepts and purposes of sport. They draw on the study of broader social phenomena such as history, sociology, and philosophy.
These theories are classified as either ‘externalist’ or ‘internalist’. Externalist theories are influenced by Marxism and structuralism and take the nature of sport to be determined by other social practices or societal values.
Internalist theories, on the other hand, argue that sport has its own distinctive value and purpose and does not depend on or reflect the larger society. They are less prone to ‘deflationary’ theories of value, and they are better equipped to identify the values of sport in the context of practice.
One of the most debated issues among philosophers is whether sport should be regarded as an activity with morally defensible objectives. Aspects of sports that attract the attention of purists include a focus on aesthetic qualities and a lack of allegiance to a particular team or athlete.