Should Sports Be Considered an Art?


Sports are a way to entertain, challenge, and test your physical abilities. They also offer ways to socialize and develop important life skills like discipline, teamwork, and leadership.

Sport is a type of competitive entertainment that usually has rules and customs designed to ensure fair play and consistent adjudication of the winner. Often, this is done through judging systems that include both objective and subjective criteria such as technical performance or artistic impression.

Many people enjoy sport for the aesthetic pleasure it yields. Aesthetics are a fundamental part of the human experience, and some philosophers argue that sport should be considered one of the arts.

A sport can be seen as an art if it conveys values or meanings that are outside the sport itself and represent or present an alternative to the culture in which the sport is played (e.g., a tennis player represents the tennis culture, or an actor playing Hamlet is a representation of modern life).

Conventionalism attempts to address the shortcomings of formalism by acknowledging the normative significance of unwritten rules and customs within the sport. This approach is based on the view that rules are not sufficient to define right and wrong conduct within sport, and that there may be unwritten norms that supplement them (Moore, 2017a; Morgan, 1987).

Broad internalist views typically connect sport to the pursuit of excellence as they focus on the role that competition plays in motivating participants to improve their performance. This connection, however, can sometimes be problematic. For instance, the mutualist philosopher Simon (2014) argues that when victory is too highly valued in sports, these games can become ‘zero-sum’ competitions.