Pandora Logic: Rules, Moral Judgement and the Fundamental Principles of Olympism

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This article is concerned with the role of moral principles, specifically the Fundamental Principles of Olympism, in the judgements of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on matters of performance enhancement. The article begins with two pairs of distinctions, that between moral judgements and morally-laden judgements, and that between the moral judgement of cases and the ethical environment of a society. The article is concerned with working through the implications of those distinctions in the context of the IOC's judgements on performance enhancement. The article favours a particularist account of the moral judgement of cases, while preserving a place for meaningful general moral statements as contributions to the ethical environment of a society, but not as general action-guiding statements or principles that can be applied to judgements in specific cases. The article illustrates the implications of this conclusion in the context of the decision-making of the IOC on performance enhancement (the case of Alain Baxter is considered). It is argued that there is a danger of the decision-making of the IOC suffering deep confusion over the difference between general and particular statements, the nature of reasons and the logic of what it is to apply a general action-guiding statement.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195-210
JournalSport, Ethics and Philosophy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2012



  • Olympism
  • principles
  • rules
  • moral particularism
  • performance enhancement

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