Not everything is a contest: sport, nature sport, and friluftsliv

Journal of the Philosophy of Sport 46 (3):437-453 (2019)
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Abstract

Two prevalent assumptions in the philosophy of sport literature are that all sports are games and that all games are contests, meant to determine who is the better at the skills definitive of the sport. If these are correct, it would follow that all sports are contests and that a range of sporting activities, including nature sports, are not in fact sports at all. This paper first confronts the notion that sport and games must seek to resolve skill superiority through consideration of sport activities that have no such aim. The reduction of sport to game is also shown to be untenable and due to misunderstanding the point of sport activities, specifically, why people engage in them. This leads to reconsideration of the dominance of an instrumental conception of sport and the pursuit of excellence as anthropomaximising efficiency. The Norwegian tradition of frilutsliv is explored as a counterpoint to both conventional and nature sport.

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Leslie A. Howe
University of Saskatchewan

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