print copy e-book
Instrumentality and values in sport

Instrumentality and values in sport

Parry Martínková, Irena

subjects: philosophy, sports and physical education – pedagogy

paperback, 150 pp., 1. edition
published: october 2013
ISBN: 978-80-246-2288-0
recommended price: 180 czk



This book considers the role of instrumentality in sport and its influence on the athlete. Instrumentality is defined as a means-ends relationship, and it is discussed from the perspective of the logic of sport. The author researches two levels of instrumentality in sport – extrinsic and intrinsic instrumentality – and introduces and describes two kinds of values with respect to the two kinds of instrumentality: the extrinsic values of sport and the intrinsic values of sport. The book discusses a wide range of problems arising from the instrumental nature of sport, and their effect upon intrinsic values and the human being.

table of contents

I. Introduction
1. Introduction
2. The structure of the book
3. Methodology
4. Definitions
5. Human existence and instrumentality

II. Instrumentality in sport
6. Two kinds of instrumentality in sport
7. Sport and its extrinsic instrumentality and values
8. Problems of extrinsic instrumentality and values of sport
9. Sport and its intrinsic instrumentality
10. The intrinsic values of sport
11. Problems of intrinsic instrumentality and values of sport

III. Balancing the instrumentality in sport
12. Education, sport and the balancing of instrumentality
13. Decreasing the 'constraining' extrinsic values of sport
14. Promoting the 'enhancing' extrinsic values of sport
15. Keeping the intrinsic values of sport in perspective
16. Understanding the athlete and the nature of sport
17. Re-designing sport disciplines
18. Focusing on the process
19. Adding non-instrumental activities into sport training

IV. Conclusion
20. Choosing the fair or the temple

V. Abstract

VI. References

Index of authors


In the book, Martinkova aims at analyzing instrumental thinking and values in sport. More specifically, the book examines contemporary competitive sport at various levels with respect to instrumentality and its impact on intrinsic values and the human being.
A dimension of instrumentality is seen as a necessity for sport to arise. To be meaningful a competition presupposes from its participants an attempt to perform and reach a result. Instrumentality is also involved in the rule systems prescribing and proscribing the means towards which to reach the specific ends of a sport competition. In soccer the scoring of goals needs to meet certain specific requirements, in alpine skier there is a specifically defined course to be followed.
Martinkova shows how these internal forms of instrumentality often are amplified when external values such as fame and fortune are involved, and she discusses in critically and informed way the various forms of instrumentality and points to a possible balance between them.
The introductory section is informative a clear and provides the necessary conceptual ground work to enable for a focused analysis.
The second section of the book includes a general discussion of instrumentality as a basic dimension of the human condition. Contextualization with the help of Heidegger's concept of Dasein seems relevant and illuminating. The analysis of internal and external instrumentality is important. The section on the particular intrinsic instrumentality and the intrinsic values of sport is original and sheds new light on the topic.
In a third section Martinkova discusses instrumentality and education. The discussion builds on the previous parts, and Martinkova is concerned in particular with the reducing destructive implications of instrumentality. She introduces seven approaches towards such a balance. To this reader, the sections on Olympic education and on Zen Buddhism are of particular interest. Martinkova focused on both structural aspects of sport (redesigning sport disciplines) and individual and existential aspects of the athlete. Again, the argument is original and sheds new light on traditional problems in the philosophy and practice of sport.
In conclusion, Martinkova brings the variety of perspectives into an overall discussion of the athlete's existence. The metaphors of 'the fair' and 'the temple' (from Coubertin) work well, and the chapter sums up in a balanced manner the discussions of the book.
In sum, I find the text interesting, well worked through, and to o certain extent innovative. Martinkova is able to find new perspectives on and new insights into classic problems in the philosophy and practice of sport. She seems well updated on relevant literature, and the text is well structured and well written. Indeed, some of her conclusions can be critically discussed. To some, the Coubertinian emphasis on intrinsic values of sport may seem anachronistic. However, Martinkova presents classic thoughts in an updated and original manner. The text can be a significant contribution to the sport philosophical clearly recommend its publication.

Z recenzního posudku: prof. Sigmund Loland, Ph.D.