Saturday, September 15, 2012

Performance-Enhancing Drugs in Sports: Philosophy in Action Podcast

By Diana Hsieh

In the 2 September 2012 episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, I discussed performance-enhancing drugs in sports, and I thought it might be of interest. The question was:

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.

Download or Listen to My Full Answer:

Tags: Contracts, Ethics, Law, Medicine, Sports

Relevant Links:To comment on this question or my answer, visit its comment thread.

A podcast of the full episode – where I answered questions on performance-enhancing drugs in sports, sexual values in romance, manipulating people for good ends, intellectually inferior professors, and more – is available as a podcast here: Episode of 2 September 2012.

Philosophy in Action Radio broadcasts every Sunday morning and Wednesday evening. For information on upcoming shows and more, visit the Episodes on Tap.

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