The Spirit of Sport and the Medicalisation of Anti-Doping: Empirical and Normative Ethics

The Spirit of Sport and the Medicalisation of Anti-Doping: Empirical and Normative Ethics / Michael McNamee. - (Asian Bioethics Review 4 (2012) 4; p. 374-392)

In this article, I argue to the contrary — that Cannabinoids should be retained on the Prohibited List; that its use may be thought of as doping; and that the Spirit of Sport criterion, though vague, is still a defensible criterion for the demarcation of “doping”. To achieve this, I critically discuss the legitimacy of Cannabinoid inclusion in the light of contemporary literature on “enhancement”, and introduce the findings of a recent empirical investigation into anti-doping policy with a sample of international key actors in antidoping policy.

In the first section, I describe the definition of doping and the current state of policy flux in anti-doping, then I set out the extant and the proposed criteria for a method or substance to be considered doping (i.e., for inclusion on the Prohibited List). I review then one bioethical critique of the Spirit of Sport criterion (Foddy and Savulescu 2010), and a recent challenge by an internationally recognised group of scholars and scientists working in the field of anti-doping (the International Network of Humanistic Doping Research) to remove the criterion. I then included narrative data from key actors on the international scene of anti-doping such as Heads of National Anti-Doping Organisations, Heads of Medicine and Science in Anti-Doping Organisations, and senior members of the World-Anti Doping Agency (WADA), before arguing against their position and for the status quo.

Original document


1 January 2012
McNamee, Michael John
United Kingdom
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WADA Prohibited List International Standard
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Swansea University
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S8. Cannabinoids
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30 August 2021
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29 November 2021
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