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Contemporary Athletics and Ancient Greek Ideals

by Daniel A. Dombrowski

Despite their influence in our culture, sports inspire dramatically less philosophical consideration than such ostensibly weightier topics as religion, politics, or science. Arguing that athletic playfulness coexists with serious underpinnings, and that both demand more substantive attention, Daniel Dombrowski harnesses the insights of ancient Greek thinkers to illuminate contemporary athletics. Dombrowski contends that the ideas of Plato, Aristotle, and Plotinus shed important light on issues--such as the pursuit of excellence, the concept of play, and the power of accepting physical limitations while also improving one's body--that remain just as relevant in our sports-obsessed age as they were in ancient Greece. Bringing these concepts to bear on contemporary concerns, Dombrowski considers such questions as whether athletic competition can be a moral substitute for war, whether it necessarily constitutes war by other means, and whether it encourages fascist tendencies or ethical virtue. The first volume to philosophically explore twenty-first-century sport in the context of its ancient predecessor,Contemporary Athletics and Ancient Greek Idealsreveals that their relationship has great and previously untapped potential to inform our understanding of human nature.

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