Doping Use As an Artistic Crime: On Natural Performances and Authentic Art

  • Andreas De BlockEmail author
Part of the International Library of Ethics, Law, and the New Medicine book series (LIME, volume 52)


The problem of fakes and forgeries is central to much theorizing in philosophical aesthetics. Although artistic fakes and forgeries share many or even all of the formal characteristics of original works, it would change our aesthetic appreciation if we were to discover, for instance, that a painting is not an original Hopper, but a perfect copy of one of Hopper’s works, painted by an unknown Belgian artist. I suspect that something very similar explains the intuitive appeal of human nature arguments in the doping debate. Much in the same way that an aesthetic judgment is also a judgment of origin and performance –and necessarily so-, the observable characteristics of an athletic performance are not the only things that aesthetically matter to us. After all, there is an aesthetically relevant difference between athletic performances and circus acts. The information that distinguishes athletic performances from circus acts (and similar phenomena) influences the aesthetic experience it engenders. In my view, the aesthetically important differences between athletic performances and circus acts all revolve around the idea that an athletic performance is necessarily a human performance. In my contribution, I will explore ‘human nature’ as an aesthetic value in sports, and I will sketch how this aesthetic value bears upon the doping debate.


Human Nature Natural Kind Female Athlete Observable Characteristic Athletic Performance 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Logic and Analytical PhilosophyKU Leuven UniversityLeuvenBelgium

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