A posthuman in sport? A case study of Oscar Pistorius
University of Wales Institute Cardiff
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In this dissertation I will argue that the decision from the IAAF and IOC to ban Oscar Pistorius from able-bodied competitions is a good one. There are a number of related reasons for this. First I argue that Oscar Pistorius, due to his enhancement of two carbon fibre prosthetics, can no longer be considered a human in the competitive sports context. One important necessary condition of humanness is that a human exhibits limitations, and weaknesses. Pistorius’ use of prosthetics in sport breaches this important feature of humanness. Secondly, I argue that Pistorius’ enhancement are incompatible with good sport competition. Seven necessary conditions identify the good sports contest, namely a comparison of abilities, that those abilities are physical, that the contest is governed by constitutive rules, and that the contest be between humans and that these Humans employ strategies and tactics, the contest is a mutual quest for excellence and involves overcoming unnecessary obstacles. Pistorius’ use of prosthetics is essentially a test of his prosthetics rather than his physical capabilities, therefore this is not a valid comparison with an able-bodied athlete. I have argued that Pistorius is a physical Posthuman, not a Human, and therefore not eligible to compete. Pistorius breaks the constitutive rules using prosthetics, they are an unsuitable form of tactical advantage. Pistorius cannot be allowed to compete in able-bodied competitions, his participation would remove the true purpose of sport; a comparison of physical capabilities.
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