Contemporary Football Philosophies
Next Fall, Dr. Lawhead will be teaching a seminar, PHIL 503, on the topic
("If you can't beat them, join them.")
Issues to be covered include:
1. "Quitters never win and winners never quit"
A tautology or an empirically grounded claim?
2. "It is not whether you win or lose that matters, but how you play the
This claim will be evaluated in the light of recent work on Wittgensteinian
3. "Winning is not the most important thing, it is the only
- This philosophy will be assessed in the light of traditional
critiques of monistic value theories.
4. "When the going gets tough, the tough get going."
- The Euthyphro revisited: Are players tough because they are
a state of going or are they in a state of going because they are
5. "Team spirit is the key to winning."
Problems with the notion of a collective individual will be examined in the
light of Hegelian scholarship.
6. "To win you must have a winning attitude."
What are attitudes? Are they cognitive or emotive states in the mind?
Are they in the mind at all or are they ways of referring sheerly to
behavior? Philosophies of mind, including those of Descartes, Skinner,
Ryle, and Dennett, will be employed in the analysis of this popular philosophy.
Evaluation: Each class member will choose one of the above philosophies
and participate in a series of touch football games using their philosophy
as a basis for their activity on the field. The impact of your chosen
philosophy on the defensive and offensive outcomes will be the basis of a
term paper. Our own head coach will be the guest referee for this exercise.
He will also give a closing inspirational lecture to the class on "How
to be a winner in the game of life."