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International Association for the Philosophy of Sport

Keynote Presentations

Opening Keynote: ​"More than a game"​

One influential theory of sport, stemming from the work of Bernard Suits, assimilates sports to games, and takes the value of sport to derive from the value of surmounting the arbitrary obstacles that are essential to games. I shall argue that this approach badly mistakes the nature and value of sport, which in truth are quite independent of the fact that some sports are games.


Professor David Papineau - King's College London

David Papineau was educated in Trinidad, England, and South Africa. He has a BSc in mathematics from the University of Natal and a BA and PhD in philosophy from Cambridge. He has lectured at Reading University, Macquarie University, Birkbeck College London and Cambridge University.

He is currently Professor of Philosophy at King's College London and at the Graduate Center of City College of New York. His books include Philosophical Naturalism 1993, Thinking about Consciousness 2002 and Philosophical Devices 2012. He was elected President of the British Society for the Philosophy of Science for 1993-5, of the Mind Association for 2009-10, and of the Aristotelian Society for 2013-4.

Conference Keynote: ​"Playing with Cheaters"​

Although cheating in sport would seem to be a relatively straightforward issue, recent discussions have demonstrated its complexity. It is difficult to identify precisely what constitutes cheating as well as the degree to which we should assign moral disapprobation. Nevertheless, few would disagree that there are some actions that run afoul of game rules (or their spirit) and are therefore rightfully forbidden. 

Despite the important questions about that have been raised about identification, this paper takes for granted that cheating in some broad sense of the term does take place, that it normally gives competitive advantage, and that it is blameworthy. Of course, not all violations are equal: there are different types and different levels of moral seriousness. At some point, cheating excludes the cheater from genuine participation and, perhaps, effectively destroys the game itself.

The concern of this paper is with what we might call "playable cheating"—instances which are clearly wrong but do not rise to the level of event destruction. (Precisely where the line between playable and non-playable cheating should be drawn is itself a difficult issue and will vary according to individual events.) With regard to playable cheating, games do go on, even if they are importantly compromised by non-compliance by the participants. 

It seems natural to approach the issue of cheating from either the perspective of the cheater or the official rule-enforcer (referee or umpire). But there are other participants involved in these contests, some of whom undoubtedly see what is happening (this recognition could take place before the event, during the event, or after the event). Most people who have played competitive sport have been in this position. What is their experience of the game, and what should they do about the non-compliance? Players might have different relationships with cheaters, and therefore have different responses to their actions: sometimes adversaries cheat, and sometimes teammates cheat. In a sense, the (good) player "plays with" both, although obviously the relationships and perhaps the moral responsibilities are quite different. Many factors complicate the issue. What is the reason for cheating? How serious is the violation? Who started it? What kind of punishment attends violation? 

Professor Paul Gaffney - St John's University, New York, USA

Paul Gaffney has been a member of the Philosophy Department since 1989, serving as Chair since 2007. Dr. Gaffney has also regularly taught Business Ethics and other courses for John Cabot University in Rome, Italy since 1996. He was a Visiting Fellow at the Institute for Public Philosophy at the University of North Dakota (Spring 2009), and has received grants and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Heritage Foundation. He served as Councilor of the Metaphysical Society of America and as a member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of the Philosophy of Sport. He is currently writing a book entitled Competition as Ideal: The Structure and Meaning of Antagonistic Relationships.​