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Cultural technology and sporting value : a philosophical investigation

Few people would dispute that today’s world is highly technological. But what do we mean when we talk of ‘technology’, and is it possible to quantify its effect on human beings? This thesis considers the relationship between technology and humanity as being one of symbiosis - we shape our tools and in turn, our tools shape us. The nature of this relationship is described by ‘essentialist’ critics of technology as narrowing the focus of human endeavour towards a technological value-set dominated by efficiency, to the detriment of other values important to the human animal. Sport provides an excellent framework for examining the impact of technology defined in this way, as it is a ubiquitous and highly technological arena. If it can be plausibly argued that an increasingly technological and performance-centred approach to sport is detrimental to an holistic understanding of sport’s potential to benefit both the individual and society as a whole, it may be the case that sport provides accessible and irrefutable evidence for the truth of the essentialists’ claims regarding the impact on society of technology writ large. This thesis presents such an argument. Furthermore, if we grant the essentialist critics their contention and admit the impossibility of returning to an ‘untechnological’ world, we have to find some way of restoring and maintaining an holistic existence in the face of the restricted value-set imposed by our technology and our interactions with it. To this end, the latter part of this thesis promotes ‘metaphysical’ sporting values (freedom, self-affirmation and beautiful, harmonious action) as a way to counter-balance the impact of technology in sport and suggest ways to solve the ‘technological problem’ more generally.
Date January 2012
CreatorsThomen, Carl R.
ContributorsRyall, Emily ; Maclean, Malcolm ; Matthews, Nic
PublisherUniversity of Gloucestershire
Source SetsEthos UK
Detected LanguageEnglish
TypeElectronic Thesis or Dissertation

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