Ethical, Conceptual & Scientific Issues in the Use of Performance-Enhancing Technologies in Sports

Principal Investigators: Thomas H. MurrayErik Parens, Angela Wasunna

Funder: U.S. Anti-Doping Agency

This project examined the rationales offered for classifying certain technologies that enhance athletic performance as either ethically justifiable and thus consistent with the values and meaning of sport, or unethical and therefore appropriately prohibited in competitive sport. Grounding analysis on the underlying science and the social and historical context of sport, the project working group–comprised of physicians and sports physiologists, elite competitive athletes, and social scientists in addition to ethicists and scholars in the humanities–focused on ethical justifications for permitting or prohibiting particular means of enhancing performance. To engage these questions in their full complexity, the project employed as a case study the use of technologies intended to increase endurance by enhancing the transport of oxygen to tissues, probably the most important array of performance enhancing technologies in contemporary sport.