chapter  2
Soft metaphysics: a precursor to good sports ethics
WithR. Scott Kretchmar
Pages 16

In an age when many philosophers doubt the value of metaphysics altogether, it may be difficult to see why ethics often goes better when preceded by metaphysics.1 Nevertheless, I once suggested (Kretchmar, 1983) that it is dangerous to specify morally right behaviours in sport or games before understanding how they (sport and games) work. My basic argument was that the good and harm that come to those who play games are, in the main, results of interactions between people, culture, and game structures. Importantly, games-given their characteristics-impose constraints on behaviour, constraints in relation to which some actions tend to produce good and other actions harm or at least lesser amounts of good. I lamented the fact that many analysts ventured to tell us how we ought to act in sport before analysing the practice (and thus the uniquely constrained context) in which all these normative actions are to take place.