Technology and the Existential Element in Sport

Roger Melin
Dalarna University, Sweden

The purpose of the following paper is to discuss and problematize the use of technology as a basis for decisions in on-going sport events. In the paper, various forms of technology used in sport are analysed, whereby the main dichotomy is understood as technology used outside a game (off-game technology) and technology used in a game (in-game technology). The primary aim of both these forms of technology is to create similar conditions for performance, and hence fairness, for all participants in sport. The paper further emphasizes that two variants of technology, in-game decision-making technology and off-game decision-making technology are not just about creating similar conditions, but rather are technologies that are applied, as it were, retroactively and aims at ensuring fairness in sport through correcting upcoming mistakes that referees do during ongoing games and competitions. The paper highlights that using these two latter forms of technology as a way of ensuring fairness in ongoing competitions is problematic in that it might alienate sport from its human existential basis of embodiment and perspectival subjectivity. Hence, it might lead to an alienation of the participants in sport from both their sporting practice, and each other and themselves. It is further pointed out that the epistemological fallibility that emerges from the human existential conditions of embodiment and subjectivity, instead of being eliminated by technologically based decisions, ought to be understood as the basis for enabling sports contests as arenas for the development of an individuals’ (sportspersons’) practical judgment.

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ROGER MELIN is a lecturer in philosophy at Dalarna University. He has been engaged as a team sport coach both for children and seniors, and has taught the philosophy of sport and sport ethics in the Sport Management Program and Sport Trainer Program at Dalarna University since 2004. In addition to a broad interest in sport philosophy, he is interested and influenced by common sense philosophy.


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