Logic, Rules and Intention: The Principal Aim Argument

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Stephen Mumford develops his view of sport spectatorship partly through a rejection of an argument he attributes to Best, which distinguishes between two categories of sports, the ‘purposive’ and the ‘aesthetic’, on the basis of the claim that they have different principal aims. This paper considers the principal aim argument and one feature of Mumford’s rejection of that argument, namely, Best’s observation that the distinctions to which he draws attention are based on logical differences. The paper argues that Mumford misconstrues Best’s argument by taking it to be about the intentions of players and athletes, while it is actually about a specific feature of the rules of each sport.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-13
JournalSport, Ethics and Philosophy
Early online date3 Apr 2017
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 3 Apr 2017


  • logic
  • rules
  • intention
  • principal aim
  • purposive sports
  • aesthetic sports


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