Paternalism, Blood Sports and The Right To Fight.
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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In this paper, I have discussed the principle of paternalism regarding the participation of adults and children in blood sports, such as boxing and mixed martial arts. Blood sports, in their current form, provide a risk of brain damage to athletes through head punches and the knock out rule. Consequently athletes are at risk of brain damage and in turn loss of their individual autonomy. I have argued that individual autonomy is an important human right that should be protected. This has led me to conclude that head punches ought to be prohibited as this would eliminate the risk of loss of autonomy. I also contend that age is not a sufficient reason to restrict someone’s liberty. I argue that lack of competence and voluntariness provides a more convincing rationale for acting paternalistically. Therefore, children who display sufficient amounts of competence and voluntariness do have a right to individual autonomy and should not be subject to interference on paternalistic grounds. However, I argue an exception to this regarding participation in blood sports. Pre-emptive paternalism ought to be employed as to protect future autonomy and the child’s right to an open future. Blood sports provide an environment where participants are required to try and debilitate their opponents and cause and subjected to, at least short term brain damage. I argue blood sports, in their current form, inhibit a child’s right to an open future. Overall I conclude that the knock out rule ought to be prohibited in order to remove the risk of loss of individual autonomy from the sports.
DEGREE OF BACHELOR OF SCIENCE (HONOURS) SPORT AND PHYSICAL EDUCATION
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