Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Many believe that "doping" has no place in sport, especially no place in the Olympic Games. Yet despite, or indeed perhaps because of, this belief remarkably little has been done in the way of attempting to justify those bans.;The arguments that are offered in support of bans fall into four categories: (i) that doping is cheating or unfair, (ii) that it is harmful, (iii) that it perverts the nature of sport, and (iv) that is is dehumanizing or unnatural.;I examine each of these categories of argument in turn. The cheating or unfairness argument is readily dismissed as question-begging. The substances or practices concerned are only cheating or unfair after they have been banned. This argument is therefore unavailable to justify a ban.;The argument from harm is inconsistent. Many sports, and many practices within sport, are more harmful and more risky, than the majority of the banned practices or substances. It is inconsistent to paternalistically ban some practices, claiming concern for athlete well-being as the justification, and then to permit other, equally harmful, activities.;The dehumanization argument in general looks promising. Unfortunately, however, it is not clear why substances such as anabolic steroids should be considered dehumanizing. This is partly so because we do not have a clear and uncontroversial picture of what it is to be human to start with.;There is a similar lack of clarity in the arguments that claim that doping perverts the nature of sport. While this may be so for some future possible performance-enhancing practice and sport, there are not extant arguments to show why, e.g., anabolic steroid use would pervert the nature of the 100 metre dash.;I offer a two-tiered approach to justifying bans on doping. The first tier examines the internal goods of sport and shows why athletes would rationally want to avoid doping. The second tier works from the community level and shows why those concerned about sport, especially those concerned about Olympic sport would rationally seek to promote doping-free sport.



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