The ethics of performance-enhancing technology in sport
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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- Artikler / Articles 
Original versionJournal of the Philosophy of Sport. 2009, 36(2), 152-161
Debates on sport technologies tend to engage. Sometimes they have a unifying effect. As is evident from the 1999 establishment of the World Antidoping Agency (WADA), there is a relatively strong consensus that the use of performance-enhancing drugs, or doping, should be banned in sport. Sometimes technology causes controversies. New movement techniques, such as the so-called flop in height jumping developed by Dick Fosbury in the mid 1960s, or the V-style in ski jumping introduced by Jan Bokløv in the late 1980s, led to heated debate on the aesthetics and meaning of the sports in question. Innovative equipment such as body suits in swimming designed to reduce water friction, or shorter alpine skis with radically improved carving capabilities, are sometimes considered to challenge traditional athletic skills. Critics argue that these new means ¿technologize¿ sport. In the most serious cases, such as with potentially performance-enhancing genetic technologies, new means are seen to threaten the very idea of athletic performance as we know it (15,19). In this essay I attempt to deal with value questions linked to sport technology in a philosophically informed way.2 More specifically, I will present a normative framework within which to reason systematically about where to draw the line between valuable, acceptable, and nonacceptable technologies in sport. First, sport technology is defined and a tentative categorization of sport technologies is proposed. Secondly, three ideal-typical normative views and their implications for technology are discussed. I conclude by pointing at one particular normative view as the more promising one in this respect.