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Ethics, Brain Injuries, and Sports: Prohibition, Reform, and Prudence

Francisco Javier Lopez Frias, Michael McNamee Orcid Logo

Sport, Ethics and Philosophy, Volume: 11, Issue: 3, Pages: 264 - 280

Swansea University Author: Michael McNamee Orcid Logo

Abstract

In this paper, we explore the issue of the elimination of sports, or elements of sports, that present a high risk of brain injury. In particular, we critically examine two elements of Angelo Corlett’s and Pam Sailors’ arguments for the prohibition of football and Nicholas Dixon’s claim for the refor...

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Published in: Sport, Ethics and Philosophy
ISSN: 1751-1321 1751-133X
Published: 2017
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URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa34549
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spelling 2020-07-07T18:13:41.2862512 v2 34549 2017-07-04 Ethics, Brain Injuries, and Sports: Prohibition, Reform, and Prudence 85b0b1623e55d977378622a6aab7ee6e 0000-0002-5857-909X Michael McNamee Michael McNamee true false 2017-07-04 STSC In this paper, we explore the issue of the elimination of sports, or elements of sports, that present a high risk of brain injury. In particular, we critically examine two elements of Angelo Corlett’s and Pam Sailors’ arguments for the prohibition of football and Nicholas Dixon’s claim for the reformation of boxing to eliminate blows to the head based on (a) the empirical assumption of an essential or causal connection between brain injuries incurred in football and the development of a degenerative brain disease known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE); and (b) John Stuart Mill’s rejection of consensual domination (ie voluntary enslavement). We present four arguments to contest the validity of Corlett, Dixon’s and Sailor’s positions. Specifically, we argue that (i) certain autonomy-based arguments undermine paternalist arguments for reform; (ii) the nature of the goods people pursue in their lives might justify their foregoing (degrees of) future autonomy; (iii) Mill’s argument against consensual domination draws on ambiguous and arbitrary distinctions; (iv) the lack of consensus and empirical evidence regarding CTE arising from brain injuries in sport underdetermines calls for reform. We conclude that these proposals for reforming or eliminating sports with high risks of brain injuries are not well founded. Journal Article Sport, Ethics and Philosophy 11 3 264 280 1751-1321 1751-133X Brain injuries, autonomy, paternalism, football, consensual domination 31 12 2017 2017-12-31 10.1080/17511321.2017.1342688 COLLEGE NANME Sport and Exercise Sciences COLLEGE CODE STSC Swansea University 2020-07-07T18:13:41.2862512 2017-07-04T12:02:47.1973801 College of Engineering Sports Science Francisco Javier Lopez Frias 1 Michael McNamee 0000-0002-5857-909X 2 0034549-04072017120635.pdf frias2017.pdf 2017-07-04T12:06:35.7230000 Output 543966 application/pdf Accepted Manuscript true 2019-01-08T00:00:00.0000000 true eng
title Ethics, Brain Injuries, and Sports: Prohibition, Reform, and Prudence
spellingShingle Ethics, Brain Injuries, and Sports: Prohibition, Reform, and Prudence
Michael McNamee
title_short Ethics, Brain Injuries, and Sports: Prohibition, Reform, and Prudence
title_full Ethics, Brain Injuries, and Sports: Prohibition, Reform, and Prudence
title_fullStr Ethics, Brain Injuries, and Sports: Prohibition, Reform, and Prudence
title_full_unstemmed Ethics, Brain Injuries, and Sports: Prohibition, Reform, and Prudence
title_sort Ethics, Brain Injuries, and Sports: Prohibition, Reform, and Prudence
author_id_str_mv 85b0b1623e55d977378622a6aab7ee6e
author_id_fullname_str_mv 85b0b1623e55d977378622a6aab7ee6e_***_Michael McNamee
author Michael McNamee
author2 Francisco Javier Lopez Frias
Michael McNamee
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description In this paper, we explore the issue of the elimination of sports, or elements of sports, that present a high risk of brain injury. In particular, we critically examine two elements of Angelo Corlett’s and Pam Sailors’ arguments for the prohibition of football and Nicholas Dixon’s claim for the reformation of boxing to eliminate blows to the head based on (a) the empirical assumption of an essential or causal connection between brain injuries incurred in football and the development of a degenerative brain disease known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE); and (b) John Stuart Mill’s rejection of consensual domination (ie voluntary enslavement). We present four arguments to contest the validity of Corlett, Dixon’s and Sailor’s positions. Specifically, we argue that (i) certain autonomy-based arguments undermine paternalist arguments for reform; (ii) the nature of the goods people pursue in their lives might justify their foregoing (degrees of) future autonomy; (iii) Mill’s argument against consensual domination draws on ambiguous and arbitrary distinctions; (iv) the lack of consensus and empirical evidence regarding CTE arising from brain injuries in sport underdetermines calls for reform. We conclude that these proposals for reforming or eliminating sports with high risks of brain injuries are not well founded.
published_date 2017-12-31T03:47:12Z
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