Advertisement

Continental Pragmatism: Enduring Life in the Strenuous Mood

  • Ron Welters
Chapter
Part of the Library of Ethics and Applied Philosophy book series (LOET, volume 37)

Abstract

Philosophy is often epitomized as the noble art of asking the right questions. In this chapter I will also try to formulate a sport philosophical answer to the question how we are to live in times of environmental crisis and moral desorientation. I will do so by broadening the practical philosophical perspective I developed so far. Firmly rooted in continental philosophy, over time I have increasingly become infected by William James’s pragmatist adage that truth can only be found in the practical consequences of philosophical thinking. Integrating the pragmatic stance into my continental approach, I now will argue in favour of a life fully lived in strenuous endurance sport, for I regard both traditions as complementary rather than exclusionary. Endurance sport, conceived as a committed and holistic lifestyle, rather than as a gratuitous playful pastime, is a preferential tool for carving out the good life we are to lead, and which leads into a sustainable future.

As will have become clear in previous chapters, for my continentally inspired view on the benefits of human endurance in general I am indebted both to Sigmund Loland’s ecosophical work and to Peter Sloterdijk’s kynical thoughts on how to change our lives through asceticism. In You must Change your Life, Sloterdijk regularly hints at possible directions for improving our lives. We should become more environmentally conscious, less susceptible for the temptations of hyper-consumptive modern life—“banalised Enlightenment”, in Sloterdijk’s wording —, willing to put in more effort when it comes to satisfying our vertical needs, becoming more resilient, mentally as well as physically. Still, there remain quite a few loose ends when it comes to concretely stepping over from theoretical ascetology to ascetic action. The tenacious question still is: how to concretize and materialise ecosophical-ascetological initiatives?

My aim in this chapter is to further develop Sloterdijk’s provocative, agonistic style in a pragmatist manner: how to change our lives for the better through properly practiced endurance sport, particularly of the cycling kind?

Keywords

Continental philosophy Pragmatism Strenuous mood Endurance 

References

  1. Anderson, D. 2001. Recovering humanity: Movement, sport and nature. Journal of the Philosophy of Sport 28: 140–150.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Aristotle. 1999. Ethica Nicomacheia. Kitchener: Batoche Books.Google Scholar
  3. Breivik, G. 2010. Philosophical perfectionism – Consequences and implications for sport. Sport, Ethics and Philosophy 4 (1): 87–105.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Camus, A. 1942/1991. The myth of Sisyphus and other essays. New York: Vintage Books.Google Scholar
  5. Couture, J.P. 2016. Sloterdijk. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  6. Devine, J.W., and C.J. Knight. 2017. Beyond ‘crude pragmatism’ in sports coaching: Insights from C.S. Peirce, William James, and John Dewey: A commentary. International Journal of Sports Science & Coaching, 12 (1): 35–37.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Elcombe, T., and J. Tracey. 2010. Strechted elastics, the Tour de France, and a meaningful life. In Cycling philosophy for everyone: A philosophical tour de force, ed. J. Ilundáin-Agurruza and M. Austin, 241–252. Chichester: Wiley Blackwell.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Fusche Moe, V. 2014. The philosophy of sport and continental philosophy. In The Bloomsbury companion to the philosophy of sport, ed. C. Torres, 52–65. London: Bloomsbury.Google Scholar
  9. Gezondheidsraad. 2017. Beweegrichtlijnen 2017. https://www.gezondheidsraad.nl/nl/taak-werkwijze/werkterrein/preventie/beweegrichtlijnen-2017. Accessed 23 Feb 2018.
  10. Gorris, L., and D. Kurbjuweit. 2008. Philosopher Peter Sloterdijk on the Tour de France: ‘The riders are just regular employees.’ Der Spiegel Online International. http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/philosopher-peter-sloterdijk-on-the-tour-de-france-the-riders-are-just-regular-employees-a-565111.html Accessed 6 Mar 2012.
  11. Heidegger, M. 1927/2008. Being and time. New York: Harper & Row.Google Scholar
  12. ———. 1947/1977. Letter on humanism. Basic writings. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  13. Heming, T. 2015. Join the club. 220 Triathlon March 2015: 7879.Google Scholar
  14. Hochstetler, D., and P. Hopsicker. 2012. The heights of humanity: Endurance sport and the strenuous mood. Journal of the Philosophy of Sport 39 (1): 117–136.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. ———. 2016. Normative concerns for endurance athletes. Journal of the Philosophy of Sport 43 (3): 335–349.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Ilundáin-Agurruza, J. 2014. William James—Pragmatic pioneer. Sport, Ethics and Philosophy 8 (3): 258–270.  https://doi.org/10.1080/17511321.2014.981359.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. James, W. 1890/2007. The principles of psychology, vol. I. New York: Cosimo Classics.Google Scholar
  18. ———.1899. What makes a life significant? http://philosophy.lander.edu/intro/articles/jameslife–a.pdf.
  19. ———. 1901/1902. The varieties of religious experience. A study in human nature. https://worldu.edu/library/william_james_var.pdf. Accessed 5 Feb 2018.
  20. ———. 1907a. Pragmatism, an new name for some old ways of thinking. Popular lectures on philosophy. New York: Longmans, Green, & Co.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. ———. 1907b. The energies of man. The American magazine (reprint). https://archive.org/stream/energiesofmen00jameuoft/energiesofmen00jameuoft_djvu.txt. Accessed 5 Feb 2018.
  22. Kahn, J. 2009. Divine discontent: The religious imagination of W.E.B. Du Bois. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Kretchmar, S.R. 1982. Distancing’: An essay on abstract thinking in sport performances. Journal of the Philosophy of Sport 9: 6–18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Loland, S. 1996. Outline of an ecosophy of sport. Journal of the Philosophy of Sport 23: 70–90.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. ———. 2001. Record sports: An ecological critique and a reconstruction. Journal of the Philosophy of Sport 28: 127–139.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. ———. 2006. Olympic sport and the ideal of sustainable development. Journal of the Philosophy of Sport 33: 144–156.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Metrolyrics. 2013. The sound of music lyrics. http://www.metrolyrics.com/climb-every-mountain-lyrics-the-sound-of-music.html. Accessed 15 Apr 2018.
  28. Moore, G.E. 1903. Principia ethica. http://fair-use.org/g-e-moore/principia-ethica. Accessed 16 Feb 2018.
  29. Reid, H.L. 2017. Why Olympia matters for modern sport. Journal of the Philosophy of Sport 44 (2): 159–173.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Sloterdijk, P. 1983/1987. Critique of cynical reason. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  31. ———. 1999/2009. Rules for the human zoo. A response to the Letter on humanism. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 27: 12–28. https://rekveld.home.xs4all.nl/tech/Sloterdijk_RulesForTheHumanZoo.pdf. Accessed 5 Feb 2018.
  32. ———. 2009/2013. You must change your life – On anthropotechnics. Cambridge/Malden: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  33. Spinney, J. 2006. A place of sense: A kinaesthetic ethnography of cyclists on Mont Ventoux. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 24: 709–732.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Tuncel, Y. 2013. Agon in Nietzsche. Milwaukee: Marquette University Press.Google Scholar
  35. Van den Bossche, M. 2005. De passie van Marc Van den Bossche: Wielrennen. Rotterdam: Lemniscaat.Google Scholar
  36. Van de Poll, W. 2015. René Gude (1957–2015): “Ik ben echt niet bang voor de dood”. Trouw 14 March. https://www.trouw.nl/home/rene-gude-1957-2015-ik-ben-echt-niet-bang-voor-de-dood-~a2f1a2e5/. Accessed 17 Feb 2018.

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ron Welters
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute for Science in Society, Faculty of ScienceRadboud UniversityNijmegenThe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations