Christmas Puzzle Link and usual ‘Christmas banned’ nonsense

Peter Cave has a Christmas puzzle for the entertainment of philosophers at http://continuumphilosophy.typepad.com/continuum_philosophy/2009/12/guest-post-peter-caves-seasonal-puzzle-1.html – enjoy

See previous links at http://r-p-e.blogspot.com/2007/12/festive-philosophy.html for stories on banning Christmas, etc- expect usual tabloid versions this year too…

Dave

Cheating and Sport?

I am not that interested in professional football; the cultural imperative for all men to attend with irrational gusto to the minutiae of its details leaves me cold, and feeling distanced from it. Nonetheless, I was struck by Guardian sport blog headline:

The night France’s philosopher king spat in the face of the common man

Now, the headline seems wholly over the top: but maybe there is something of interest here. I forced myself to read the entry. And, there was indeed something of interest there. The blog author (Paul Hayward) notes that the French coach sees the incident as failure of the referee – and not a matter of cheating. I can see it is a mistake by the referee. To me this is the game and not cheating says the French coach.

The blog author advances more evidence of the same attitude in sport – and this leads him to the view that as far as many players and others are concerned – they should be able to do anything and it is then the job of the match officials to spot and punish rule-breaking. Paul writes:

With each swan dive, handball and feigned injury we have shuffled to the moment where the modern player thinks it is his duty to cheat, and the responsibility of the state to stop him. To Henry and Domenech, this was a failure not of spirit, of fair play or values but of governance

This is interesting. The idea here is that you should do anything you can to win – and the game is to avoid detection. The rules, it implies, are to be enforced onto you, not something you seek to follow from an intrinsic respect for them. Is it fair to say that many feel the same about the law? If we think about a particular part of the law – motoring restrictions (against speeding, parking where we choose, etc) – I think there parallel is quite striking.

To return to sport though, does such a view not mean that cheating is impossible? If you get away with it – that is fine; if you are caught, you are punished and the rules are upheld. I wonder if I feel the same about lying, or stealing…

Comments?