Ethical Considerations on Physical Enhancement in the Competitive Sports World: With Regard to a Better Body

Ethical Considerations on Physical Enhancement in the Competitive Sports World : With Regard to a Better Body / Mizuho Takemura. - (International Journal of Sport and Health Science 16 (2018) 15 March; p. A25-A36)

  • Original article published in Japan J. Phys. Educ. Hlth. Sport Sci. 59: 53-66, 2014 (in Japanese)
  • DOI: 10.5432/ijshs.13050


Medical technology has made remarkable advances in recent years. On the one hand, these advances have the benefit of contributing to the happiness of humankind; on the other hand, they can raise various ethical and social issues, precisely because they are applied to individual humans. One such issue is enhancement technology, which can be used not only for the purpose of treating disease, but also for improving or enhancing the body or mind; humans themselves can become subject to alterations without any medical purpose. Body enhancement used to improve athletic performance is of particular concern in competitive sports. In this study, body enhancement was considered to be an act of pursuing a better-performing body, and examined the issues related to “better-ness” in this context from an ethical viewpoint. Specifically, I (1) elucidate the meaning of the word “better-ness” within the phrase “better performing” and (2) examine whether the act of pursuing a body that is “better” is an act of overall human betterment by engaging in an ethical discussion of its pros and cons. I use the principle of act described in Kant's practical philosophy as a framework for discussion. With regard to (1), I conclude that the meaning of “better” in the context of body enhancement in competitive sports is defined by theoretical (logical) judgment, and not by moral judgment. With regard to (2), I describe what an unacceptable act is according to Kant's Formula of the End in Itself. I also present the limits of this study, and point out the need to clarify in future studies the concept of what comprises human nature.

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15 March 2018
Takemura, Mizuho
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Nihon Fukushi University
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Scientific article
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Date generated
28 October 2021
Date of last modification
3 November 2021
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