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Could a natural law theorist argue that the use of performance-enhancing drugs by athletes is morally acceptable? If so, how? If not, why not?
Sports are an important aspect of the culture of every tradition and serve as a beacon of humanity. Sports are also a form of therapy that ensures that the body is safe from several illnesses. Thus, to human perspective sports remain to be an important aspect of life and people can do all the viable tasks to make it more beneficial to them and their societies. The use of performance-enhancing drugs by athletes in sports can have an association with natural law. Natural law is an ambiguous term that refers to a type of moral theory and also the legal theory. It does not refer to the laws of nature in that science subscribes. The principle of the natural law moral theory is that the more standards that guard human behavior are objectively derived from the nature of human beings and the world (George, 2008). Thus, the main focus to a natural law theorist is the level of positive benefits to the negative ones. If an event or practice leads to more benefits than negatives, then the natural law theorist can justify it.
I think that a natural law theorist can argue that the use of performance-enhancing drugs by athletes is morally acceptable. The basis of the argument lies in the perception of what is good or bad and the associated benefits. The moral aspect of the natural law holds that moral propositions can be objectively true or false. The truth of any moral perception lies in its correspondence with the mind. Thus, the decision as to whether the use of the performance-enhancing drugs is good or bad lies on individual perceptions as to what is morally right. I think that to the natural law theorist, the use of performance enhancing drugs has the potential to lead to lead to more positives than negatives. However, the statement can also be subjective to some extent. In such a case that requires us to make a choice, the natural law theorist considers what they believe will generate more pleasure. I think that the use of the performance-enhancing drugs results to more pleasure to the general public who do not understand whether the athlete uses the drugs or not. Many athletes continue to practice doping since they understand that it is illegal. However, if the issue were legal, many of them would not attempt it due to the underlying negative consequences. Thus, the benefit of allowing the use of the performance enhancers is a reduction in its use among the athletes.
The natural law theorist would argue that the performance enhancing drugs are beneficial for certain reasons. First, everyone wants to watch an athlete break a certain record and also seeing an aggressive player. The common expectation is that an athlete does something that is unique and not being average by accomplishing the things already accomplished before. An athlete who uses the performance enhancers can make a positive impact on the family, friends, teammates, fans, and the sponsors. It would be of no use to have the athletes train all year round and receive nothing eventually.
The strength, speed, and the vigor of modern athletes arise to the people who witness their performance. During the competitions, the athletes have to show excellence in skill, and ability to perform under extreme pressure. The team members demonstrate commitment, selflessness, and adaptability in the field as expected by their fans. As such, they can do extra things like use of the performance enhancers to increase their chances of making themselves and others proud (Bredemeier, Shields & Horn, 2003).
The natural law theorists could argue that the athletes can do anything and everything possible to realize their athletic success. Such behaviors are a consequence of adherence to the performance ethics and fall under the moral concept of the natural law. According to the natural law theory, there lacks the existence of universally desired values. The theory holds that the responsibilities, duties and rights do not subscribe to the social norms. As such, the moral standards of behavior arise from the basic laws of nature and not on what the society perceives as right or wrong (Aicinena, 2007).
The fact that humans covet makes them susceptible to violate the moral principles in sports. Human beings have free will and are prone to engage in behaviors that benefit the self. In sports, the participants have a primary goal of enhancement of their ego. In such cases, they violate the natural law since they use the enhancers at the expense of others. Rules ensure that competition is fair, and fairness is a basic principle in natural law (DeSensi & Rosenberg, 2003). The participants desire to win the prize, but the temptation to be dishonest makes them break the rules. I think it likes to covet since it is the desire for something that rightfully belongs to another. As long the engagement in an activity has a desirable social benefit, it would be morally acceptable. The natural law theory supports doing the unnatural deeds for the sake of the associated benefits. As such, the use of performance enhancers is morally acceptable.
Aicinena S. (2007) Moral Imperatives and Modern Sport: Journal of Education and Human Development. ISSN 1934-7200 Vol. 1(1)
Bredemeier, B., Shields, D., & Horn, J. (2003). Values and violence in sports today: The moral reasoning athletes use in their games and their lives. In J. Boxill (Ed), Sports Ethics: An Anthology (pp. 217-220). UK: Blackwell Publishing.
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