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Question

Write a 6 page philosophy paper. here is the topic: 1. As we’ve seen, some people think doping* should continue to be banned from sports** whereas others think that such a ban should be lifted. Your job is to argue for one side or the other. In the course of so doing, you must give (at least) one BAD argument for your conclusion and explain why it’s bad. (Don’t give the stupidest thing you can think of better something with at least a shred of initial plausibility.) 

You must also lay out, with sympathy, what you take to be the best argument for the other side, explain what’s good about it, then defend your position against it anyhow. Ideally, your paper will touch on what you take the nature of sport to be. * For the purposes of this paper, you may assume that doping includes currently banned performance-enhancing drugs such as anabolic steroids and human growth factor, and currently banned practices such as blood or gene manipulation.

 If the details matter to the point you want to make (say, you think there is a morally relevant difference between different drugs), then raise them. Otherwise, leave those details out. Focus on the philosophical issues http://www.wada-ama.org/Documents/World_Anti-Doping_Program/WADP-Prohibited-list/2014/WADA-prohibited-list-2014-EN.pdf ** You may assume elite adult sports. If the distinction between amateur and professional is relevant to what you have to say, you may make it, but be aware it’s a little vexed.

 

Answer:

Philosophical Argument against Doping

Abstract

The argument for anti-doping policy and those of doping borders on philosophical theories of rights, virtue, harm verses benefit, and duty-based frameworks. There is need to validate the anti-doping policy with philosophical theories. The acceptable choices or ethical guidelines in the sports attempt to achieve certain values, which the society perceives as morally acceptable. The merit of the anti-doping policy depends on its function in protecting and promoting rights, virtues, and beliefs an individual.

Introduction

The World Anti-Doping Agency prohibits sportspersons from using certain drugs believed to influence the ability of the sportsperson to compete. There has been a growing debate over the legitimacy of anti-doping policy. The arguments brought forward by various contributors seem to question or provide philosophical backing of the anti-doping policy. Nevertheless, some philosophers enjoined in this debate believe that anti-doping policy should have ethical and philosophical backing. The major arguments surrounding the anti-doping policy is to what extent is the policy substantiated by ethical and philosophical arguments. Is there enough evidence to legitimize the anti-doping policy? A bid to support or oppose the anti-doping policy has attracted philosophical and ethical arguments from parties interested in promoting sports values. However, such arguments have often left some philosophers thinking that eradicating doping in sport is unachievable goal. Sports ethics roots for protecting of the sportspersons from harm that includes violation of right and physical harm, fairness, and integrity.

The opponents of doping believe that the use of drugs that enhance sportsmanship pose moral and empirical impacts on users and sporting family. The use of drugs that enhance sporting ability tends to promote cheating thereby breaching the principle of fairness in sport (WADA). The principle of fairness demands that sports participants should not use drugs, which will stimulate their bodies to have a competitive edge against their opponents. The principle of fairness in sports stems from the philosophical view on rights of the participants. In sports, there are rules and guidelines, which define the nature of engagement among the sports participants. The essence of sport rules and guidelines is to protect the rights of the sports persons. In this case, the ethical argument on fairness stems from the philosophical argument on rights. The philosophical arguments on rights roots for fairness based on acknowledgement of human dignity. In sports, the merits of the athlete should be a reflection of factors that are within his or her control. The sporting ability and achievements should be a manifestation of the amount of effort and self-motivation that are consistent with natural life as opposed to fanaticism (Brown, 1984; WADA).

Brown (1984) assert that the moment a sportsperson uses drugs, which enhance his or her ability to compete, he or she violate or seek to undermine the natural rights of other participants that have not used the doping drugs. The duty-based philosophy holds that an act is only morally acceptable if it stems from duty and that motive of the doer not the consequences of the act should qualify it. On the contrary, doping promotes cheating in sports because the intention of this act is unfair enhancement of the sportsperson’s ability to edge over other participants. In addition, since cheating is morally unacceptable, at no moment will cheating lead to fair sporting. When one group of participants engages in cheating and they find room to participate in sports, the entire sporting activity would thus be promoting deprivation of rights of other sportspersons that do not use such drugs.

Sports provide arena where the society projects the values that it deems are right and worth passing to generations to come. The use of drugs that enhance one’s sporting ability creates conflict of values because it emphasizes the rights of the drug users over non-drug users, and it skews the context of practice with a view of denying credibility to other values (Simon, 1984). The conflict, which arises from the drug to enhance sporting ability and achievement, is breach of values of sporting. Sporting values hinges on the sports ethics and guidelines. The need to create sports ethics stemmed from the philosophical argument that support existence of guidelines and law in the society. The function of the law is to protect the interest and values that are acceptable by the society. Likewise, the anti-doping policy attempts to promote the societal value of fairness and protection from harm.

The philosophical argument on harm-benefit attempts to explain how good or bad the drugs are to athletes that do not consume them. Some athletes do not take drugs, but they take part in sports. There is scientific evidence that indicate that doping drugs improve the performance of athletes (WADA). Thus, doping places coercive pressure on athletes that do not take these drugs because they would only compete favorable if they also take part in consuming the drugs. Doping denies the non-drug users the right to enjoy fair competition (Simon, 1984). In this case, athletes can only complete fairly when circumstances surrounding their activity does not deny them their fundamental liberty of choice. Notably, since the use of the drugs harm non-users or force non-users to make decisions that infringe their fundamental rights, the only way to protect the liberty of non-drug users is to exempt from participating in the competition. Although the drug users have rights in equal amount as the non-drug users, putting them to compete disrespects the rights of the least favored party. To bring fairness, the drug users should compete in their own group and the same should apply to the non-drug users. In this case, none of these groups would challenge the legitimacy of the competition based on harm-benefit philosophical framework.

According to Simon (1984), the premise of sporting excellence and contest is to test natural skills of the participants. In this case, doping would be unacceptable because it improves the natural skills which make sporting irrelevant. The duty based philosophical theory posits that an action is acceptable if it would treat the affected as means, never as means to an end (Brown, 1984). This philosophical argument roots for equal treatment of participants’ values and beliefs. Each sportsperson has values and beliefs and that society should only honor these beliefs and values if they promote universal interest. Doping does not promote the values or beliefs of non-drug users. Instead, it creates unfavorable circumstances to one group of participants.

The value-based philosophical argument is achievable when the non-drug users have the autonomy to reject unfavorable competition and unnecessary pain. The decision to consume drugs arises from coercive force piled by the drug users and it infringes the rights and values of the participants. If the body governing sports accepts doping, it would justify unnecessary pain or harm and infringement of rights and values of people willing to neither consume drugs voluntarily nor participate in sports. Consumption of drugs that affect the natural body functions should be an individual’s choice as opposed to pressure from the society (WADA).

The underlying philosophical argument behind informed consent is individual’s fundamental rights. In society, every individual has autonomy to make informed choices. This autonomy demands that one would ascend to a given practice out of will rather than coercion. The autonomy of the athlete to make informed choices ceases the moment the sport’s governing body permits use of drugs to enhance performance. Such policy would only favor the people who are taking drugs out of choice while infringing the rights of those that use the drugs because they lack an alternative to remain competitive. Some philosophers agree that the coercion is a problem to athletes because they have other viable alternatives that are achievable in the absence of coercion (Brown, 1984)

Proponents of anti-doping policy seem to base their arguments on the philosophy of virtue. The virtue based theory attempts to define what people should be in the society. This philosophical argument seems to justify the character rather than the action of the character. The society associate sports with excellence and tends to affect the manner in which the society sees the sports personalities. The virtue of competitive sports sets the ground for the society to see excellent sports personalities as icons in the society (Simon, 1984). The moment an athlete uses drugs to achieve excellence he or she dilutes the virtue of sports (Brown, 1984). For instance, consider a situation where the most celebrated sports personality cheated to achieve this virtue. It follows from his or her attitude that cheating or corrupting one’s ways to achieve excellence is acceptable. The moral good of using the drugs or not using the drugs to enhance competitiveness stems from what the society considers as virtuous values. If the virtue tend to promote individualistic interest at the expense of the societal moral good, then the act is unacceptable. In this case, doping does not uphold the moral obligation of doing what is good and accepted in the society. While some philosophers would refute virtue-based philosophy no longer sensible, the society is not devoid of values that are universally acceptable as good (Brown, 1984).

The need to protect the young from harm is a universal need as opposed to an individual need. Opponents of doping believe that this practice harm children because they largely depend on environmental factors in character building. The merit of this argument borders on the premise that society should limit the contents that children should receive or learn with a view of molding them into responsible people in the society. On the contrary, when children see the athletes consume drugs to gain a competitive edge, they would see nothing wrong with drug consumption (Brown, 1984). In this case, the society or the body that permitted the use of drugs and exposed the content to children harmed them because they did not have a chance to choose, but practice what they observe in the society.

In conclusion, arguments against doping seem to question the moral good of drugs used by some people to enhance their ability to compete. The contention surrounding the acceptance of these drugs stem philosophical arguments of virtue, rights, harm verses benefit and duty. Doping should only be accepted when it promote the moral good, protect fundamental right of every participant, and does not pose any harm to non-drug users. In this case, doping promotes cheating which the society regards as morally wrong. It coerces some members of the society into settling for practices that they would not go for because an alternative exist. Lastly, it breaches the virtue of fairness, which sports aims to develop and promote. On the contrary, the proponents of doping refutes these arguments on the ground that sports permeate competition and drug enhancing competition is one of the means to achieve competitive edge.

References

Brown, M. W. (1984). Paternalism, Drugs, and the Nature of Sports. Journal of the Philosophy of Sport II. Pp14-22.

Simon, L. R. (1984). Good Competition and Drug Enhanced Performance, Journal of the Philosophy of Sports II. Pp 6-13.

World Anti-Doping Agency. The 2014 Prohibited List International Standard. Retrieved on 26 July, 2014 http://www.wada-ama.org/Documents/World_Anti-Doping_Program/WADP-Prohibited-list/2014/WADA-prohibited-list-2014-EN.pdf

 

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