The Metaphor of a 'Level Playing Field' in Games and Sports
Games, Sports, and Play (Thomas Hurka, Ed.), Oxford University Press, Forthcoming
27 Pages Posted: 17 Apr 2019
Date Written: 2019
In sports, the concept of a “level playing field” is much praised but not well understood. “Level” fields are supposed to be desirable because they are somehow fair; fields that are slanted towards one player or team seem paradigmatic of unfair advantage. But beyond the physical metaphor of uphill and downhill, what makes for a slant and the connection between identifiable slants and unfairness may remain opaque. In this chapter, I attempt to make progress on understanding the idea of a “level” field by drawing analogies between games and sports. My approach is constructivist: that is, I consider how games have been built and developed for insights this might provide about leveling the playing field in sports. I begin by setting the stage about level playing fields in sports.
Keywords: Sports, Fairness in Sports, Games, Level Playing Fields
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