Category Archives: Philosophy of Medicine

New chapter “Philosophy of Sport Medicine” in Springer Handbook of the Philosophy of Medicine

Co-authored with Mike Mcnamee


hanbookThe focus of this chapter is on the Philosophy of Sports Medicine, that is, the practice of medicine in the context of sport. The chapter begins by examining ways in which a distinction in kind can be claimed between Sports Medicine and Medicine per se. It does this by focussing first on the goals of medicine. This strategy proves to be indecisive, and it is concluded that a difference in degree only, rather than in kind, can be claimed for Sports Medicine. However, when the focus is directed to the normative aspects of Medicine per se, in comparison with Sports Medicine, important differences can be identified. These differences concern, especially, the way in which normative concepts central to medicine per se are operationalized in Sports Medicine. It is shown how norms regarding privacy, confidentiality, autonomy, and paternalism all apply in significantly different ways in the sporting context. Parallel differences are also identified in relation to the therapy/enhancement distinction. The problem of balancing current sporting goals against long-term health is also discussed.

You can access the Handbook’s table of content here:

If you would like a copy of the chapter please drop me an email.

Genetic testing in sports: What, if any, role?

The last fifteen years have witnessed a boom of genetic tests for sport performance. They relate both the ability to predict athletes at higher risks

A 'genetic medal'?

A ‘genetic medal’?

for specific injuries, and to the ability to predict athletic talent. They raise scientific and ethical issues related to confidentiality, conflict of interest of the sports physician, informed consent in children, and possibly infringement on the athlete’s autonomy. In this paper we distinguish here genetic tests for injury prevention in four cases: (i) concussion-related trauma brain injuries; (ii)  sudden-cardiac arrest related conditions; (iii) over-exertion complications related to the sickle-cell anemia trait; (iv) Achilles tendinopathies and anterior crucial ligament ruptures, and for athletic performance prediction in children. We argue that while the former kind of genetic tests have utility, with the bounds of specified limitations, the latter is both ethically and scientifically problematic.

Camporesi S, McNamee MJ (2013) ‘Is there a role for genetic testing in sports?‘ Encyclopedia of Life Sciences DOI: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0024203 The article can be accessed here.

Raising the threshold for pain: Gene transfer, gene enhancement, or gene doping?

In this paper, co-authored with Professor House MD PillsMike McNamee from Swansea University,  we address the question whether it can be ethically justifiable to seek gene transfer to raise one’s own tolerance to pain in a therapeutic and in an elite sports context. As a case study we analyse a currently recruiting Phase 1 study that seeks to transfer Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor to treat pain in patients with peripheral artery disease, but that could plausibly be applied also in an elite sports context. We presented this paper at the International Association for Philosophy of Sport, Porto, Sept 12-15, 2012.

Camporesi S, McNamee MJ (2012) ‘Gene Transfer for Pain: A tool to cope with the intractable, or an unethical endurance-enhancing technology?’ Life Sciences, Society & Policy Journal 8: 20-31 doi:10.1186/1746-5354-8-1-20

You can read the full paper free of charge here.