Self, Other, Play, Display and Humanity: Development of a Five-Level Model for the Analysis of Ethical Arguments in the Athletic Enhancement Debate

  • Jan TolleneerEmail author
  • Paul Schotsmans
Part of the International Library of Ethics, Law, and the New Medicine book series (LIME, volume 52)


We discuss the usability of the research model that we developed to categorise the ethical arguments around doping use and examine how they relate to each other. The five categories of the model are based on the question of what precisely is at issue when athletes take or reject performance-enhancing substances. Both pro-doping and anti-doping arguments are related to the (dis)respect shown by the athlete to (1) himself, (2) other athletes, (3) the fair-play essence of sport, (4) the social functions of spectator sport, and (5) the identity of humanity. The polarisation between liberals and conservatives is somewhat of a simplification, but it is useful for elucidating the discussion on, for example, health, equal opportunities, the spirit of sport, the sport star’s role model and especially human nature. The ethical challenge is discussed, historically pinpointed and explained with examples from our own research, current events and the research literature. The five-level model presents a grid for the reading of the perceptions and conceptions of the other contributors to this book. In general, it can help both the opponents of doping and the defenders of transhumanism to assess the power of their ethical arguments and to be aware of their relativity.


Human Nature Olympic Game Ethical Argument International Olympic Committee Fair Play 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Kinesiology and Rehabilitation SciencesKU Leuven UniversityLeuvenBelgium
  2. 2.Centre for Biomedical Ethics and LawKU Leuven UniversityLeuvenBelgium

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