Psychology, ethics and sports: Back to an Aristolean "museum of normalcy

M McNamee, C Jones, Joan Duda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


In this paper we critically evaluate a range of scientific research that attempts to explore the issues of moral development and education in and through sport. We trace historically the theoretical roots of the research in the work of mainstream development psychologists Piaget, Kohlberg and Haan and articulate their attachments to different moral theories in a way that is not made clear in the sports related research. We show how their theoretical and methodological commitments necessarily alter the efficacy of the data and conclusions of the subsequent sports psychological research. In contrast, we set out an alternative moral development picture based on Aristotelian thought. We argue that it offers a richer picture of moral agency based on the capacities of perception, emotion and deliberation and an accommodation of the importance of the ethos or moral atmosphere of particular sporting contexts.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61-75
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Sport and Health Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2003


  • Aristotle
  • ethics
  • moral atmosphere
  • moral development
  • sport


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