July 11, 2011
Heather L. Reid, professor and chair of philosophy at Morningside College, wrote a book, "Athletics and Philosophy in the Ancient World: Contests of Virtue,” that was recently published by Routledge.
The book examines the relationship between athletics and philosophy in ancient Greece and Rome, focusing on the connection between athleticism and ethics. It begins by observing that the link between athleticism and virtue is older than sport, reaching back to the athletic feats of kings and pharaohs in early Egypt and Mesopotamia. It then traces the role of athletics and the Olympic Games in transforming the idea of aristocracy as something acquired by birth to something that can be trained.
“The book compares the ethical thought of great philosophers, such as Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Seneca, Lucretius and Marcus Aurelius, with the athletic practices taking place in their worlds,” Reid said. “The goal is to get us thinking about our own modern use of sport and what social and educational value it might have.”
Reid joined the Morningside faculty in 1996. She has a doctorate in philosophy from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. She has received international recognition for her expertise on the philosophical foundations of the Olympic Games, and she has served as president of the International Association for the Philosophy of Sport. She also is the author of “The Philosophical Athlete” and numerous scholarly articles and book chapters, and she has another book coming out this summer.