The essence of sport: An anthropological and metaphysical approach

By Fabrice Louis

The aim of this article is to provide a conceptual analysis and an essentialist definition of sport. I will also argue that the properties attributed to sporting activities are indeed real. I compare the following two differing conceptions of sport:
– SHC: socio-historical conception. In this conception, sport is conceived as the set of physical practices that emerge, evolve, disappear, and find a function and meaning within a specific social context.
– REC: realistic and essentialist conception of sport. From this perspective, practicing sport consists in intensely engaging, physically and emotionally, in a competition that results from a paradoxical joint action and produces a unique outcome. Sport reflects a characteristic of human nature, that of an ability to cooperate in a new way, the way in which we have learned to cooperate to develop new and specifically human acts of language. Instead of learning how sport can be useful to us, or its value, we must simply learn what sport is.

  • sport
  • realism
  • essentialism
  • philosophy
  • joint action
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