, Volume 32, Issue 3, pp 195-200,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 05 Feb 2011

Dispelling a few false-positives: A reply to MacGregor and McNamee on doping

Abstract

McGregor and MacNamee recently, in this journal, offered several criticisms of an earlier article in which I attempted to refute a number of arguments for the claim that doping in sports is morally wrong. Their criticisms are numerous, but focus on four domains. First, they sketch a view on which the risk profiles of different sports may make doping permissible in some and impermissible in others. Second, they suggest that my criticisms of safety-based arguments assume that doping opponents are bent on harm elimination, rather than harm management. Finally, they offer two methodological criticisms, the first pertaining to my use of analogical arguments, and the second pertaining to the general difficulties of making revisionist arguments in ethics. I defend my criticisms of safety-based arguments by showing that these do not rest on the assumptions McGregor and MacNamee attribute to me and by noting that their own view about the variable relevance of safety considerations is underdeveloped. As for their methodological arguments, I endeavor to show that these are misplaced, in that they either rest on misinterpretations of my earlier article or on an excessively high standard for ethical argumentation.