Chapter 2 Somaesthetics and Sport?

In: Somaesthetics and Sport
Graham McFee
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What is somaesthetics, and what bearing might it have on sport: more specifically, on the philosophy of sport? Whether we think of somaesthetics as an elaboration of issues within philosophy or as a many-disciplinary enquiry in its own right, this paper argues that it cannot address topics central to the philosophical interest in sport. Rather, it is unclear to what issues, or sets of issues, somaesthetics is supposed to provide a potential solution.

Two considerations are crucial here. First, the emphasis in somaesthetics on the bodily is not such as to generate (or even permit) informed discussion not otherwise available to philosophy; and, second, such an emphasis does not respond to new philosophical perplexities. Either it offers nothing not already part of an enlightened view of the project of philosophy (philosophy done the way that, say, Wittgenstein would have endorsed) or it suggests enquiries philosophy should not (and cannot) sanction. Hence its contribution in general (and especially to the study of sport) simply involves combining what we could (and should) do independently. When it seems to offer something apparently new, as in stressing the nonlinguistic, this is either already in place or not appropriate, if the target is understanding.

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