On the next Philosophy in Action Radio, I'll answer questions on morality versus prudence, concealing a relationship from parents, death notifications via Facebook, and more. The live broadcast begins at 8 am PT / 9 MT / 10 CT / 11 ET on Sunday, 2 August 2015. If you can't attend live, be sure to listen to the podcast later.

Performance-Enhancing Drugs in Sports

Radio Q&A: 2 September 2012, Question 1

I answered a question on performance-enhancing drugs in sports on 2 September 2012. You can listen to or download the podcast of just this question below – or check out the whole episode of Philosophy in Action Radio.

It is wrong for athletes to use performance-enhancing drugs? Lance Armstrong was recently stripped of his record seven Tour De France titles after allegations that he used performance enhancing drugs – particularly EPO, human growth hormone, and steroids. These drugs act to enhance vitality and endurance by increasing red blood cell count, stimulating new cell growth, and helping to regulate metabolism and immune function, respectively. Although I don't have a medical background, I can't find a moral difference between a competitive athlete taking such medications for peak performance and a regular person taking vitamins, herbs, and supplements for increased performance. Professional athletes are encouraged and expected to adopt other modern technologies such as lighter bicycle frames, carbon nanotube rackets, aerodynamic helmets, and expertly designed running shoes. So isn't it proper to embrace advances in medicine as well, so long as athletes are aware of the risks? Should we vilify such athletes on the grounds that they create an unfair advantage – or applaud them for maximizing performance via technology? Should sports leagues regulate or ban performance-enhancing drugs?

My Answer, In Brief: The government should not ban performance enhancing drugs, and the arguments for doing so within private sports leagues are weak.

Tags: Contracts, Ethics, Law, Medicine, Sports


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About Philosophy in Action

I'm Dr. Diana Brickell. I'm a philosopher specializing in the application of rational principles to the challenges of real life. I received my Ph.D in philosophy from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2009. My book, Responsibility & Luck: A Defense of Praise and Blame, is available for purchase in paperback and Kindle. The book defends the justice of moral praise and blame of persons using an Aristotelian theory of moral responsibility, thereby refuting Thomas Nagel's "problem of moral luck."

My radio show, Philosophy in Action Radio, broadcasts live over the internet on most Sunday mornings and some Thursday evenings. On Sunday mornings, I answer questions applying rational principles to the challenges of real life in a live hour-long show. Greg Perkins of Objectivist Answers co-hosts the show. On Thursday evenings, I interview an expert guest or discuss a topic of interest.

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