PHIL 266.001 – Not All Fun and Games: Ethics of Sports

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Instructor: Gabriella Hulsey. This course meets MWF 11:15 a.m. – 12:05 p.m. in CW 105.

In this discussion-based course, we will survey some pressing ethical issues in the world of sports, including:

  • Do Division I schools exploit student-athletes? And, if so, what can we do about that?
    • Is the NCAA complicit in the problems facing student-athletes?
    • How do issues of systemic racism interact with or bear on questions about how student-athletes should be treated?
  • What is the problem with cheating in professional sports, including using performance enhancing drugs (PEDs)?
    • Relatedly, should leagues continue to test athletes for recreational drugs that are decriminalized or legalized given that such drugs can be helpful in recovering from injury and are plausibly less harmful than opioids?
  • Do fans face any ethical issues when rooting for their team?
    • Is there something wrong with enjoying watching others risk their physical and mental well-being solely for our enjoyment?
    • Is it okay to be happy if an opposing player gets injured? Or mad when a favorite player signs with a new team?

The course doesn’t presuppose any knowledge of sports, or of philosophy. The goal of the course is to critically examine ethical issues raised by sports together, so students should be ready to participate in discussions during class. All course readings will be available via Sakai or the library.

If you have questions about the course content or structure, please contact the instructor at grh@live.unc.edu.