Thursday, April 05, 2007

perfectionism and team sports

I've wondered for a while why on earth perfectionists (or at least the one's i've come across so far) downplay the importance of the physical so much. The last few weeks of soccer league though have got me wonderering whether team sports (like soccer) might actually turn out to be MORE important perfectionist wise than studying philosophy and the like.

When you think about it studying philosophy allows you to excercise and hone (sic?) various rational powers but team sports also do this (you have to think tactically, cooperate with others, understand and work within set rules, be creative) AND provide you with opportunities for physical perfection (which philosophy doesn't).

So on a perfectionist account it would be better to spend our lives playing soccer rather than studying philosophy. Unfortunately I have yet to find someone who will pay me to play soccer.

thoughts?

9 comments:

  1. Perhaps you could give a brief account of what you mean by perfectionism?

    Also: Welcome to the UO!

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  2. well my knowledge of perfectionism isn't very deep as i've just been introduced to it in a seminar this semester.

    what i take them to have in common (feel free to correct me anyone) is that 1) they think there is such a thing as human nature (some things that all humans and only humans have) and 2)we should try to exercise/perfect these things (which include certain types of rationality and our physiology ... although like i said they tend to be more interested in the former).

    Like i said if thats not right someone please correct me

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  3. A perfectionist shouldn't ignore the physical entirely, but I wonder if he/she can argue that it might be more or less important depending on the society in which one finds oneself.

    Certain features of my person will be more or less usefull depending on my surroundings. I might find myself in a culture where the physical attributes of men are relevant to survival, mating, and honor. In this society, perhaps a perfectionist can hold that one should favor the physical over the mental in honing one's capacities. In our current society, however, physicality is valued less while the intellect is valued more. The intellect will give someone an advantage in earnings (and therefore mating?), while the physical really isn't necessary for protection (we have civilization - courts, police, etc.) anymore.

    I find perfectionism totally implausible, but they might be able to dance around this particular worry.

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  4. Thomas Hurka, in his book Perfectionism, is a good example of a perfectionist who does take physical perfection quite seriously. Jeff Stedman knows this work quite well so he might be good to talk to about it.

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  7. n response to arthur

    i was also interested in why they give it less intrinsic importance than intellectual perfection. Its interesting that you were considering only the instrumental benefits of physical perfection (you being the departments token utilitarian i guess i shouldn't be suprised though ;)). Its true that in the original post I talked about instrumental benefits of physical perfection within team sports (insofar as it allows you to develop your rational perfections) but i don't see what reason the perfectionist has for thinking physical perfection to not be AS intrinsically valuable as rational perfections.

    in response to sobel

    I talked to stedman who confirmed what i thought which is although hurka does think physical perfectionism is intrinsically good he seems to think intellectual perfection is far more important.

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  8. Read your Nietzsche, dudes (and dudettes).

    Intellectuals downplay the physical virtues because they're mostly nerds, and to champion physical -- or martial -- virtues is to diminish the grounds of their self-esteem (not to say, their will to power).

    "Perfectionists" -- that is, those who put forward a philosophy of perfectionism, as opposed to those whose way of life can aptly described as such -- are a species of intellectuals, as are their philosophical opponents.

    That's a simple and, IMO, satisfying explanation. (Hurka notwithstandind, though my reading of his work corroborates Steadman's assessment: Hurka too thinks the intellectual virtues far more important than the physical.

    Just as Nietzsche would've predicted.

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