The Philosophy of Exercise Professional Education

Gray, John (2023) The Philosophy of Exercise Professional Education. Doctoral thesis, University of Gloucestershire. doi:10.46289/WW24J5A4

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Within both populist consciousness and government policy there is the belief that exercise is medicine. Accordingly, within political, academic, and practical contexts, exercise professionals are seen as important gatekeepers of knowledge for positive participation experiences. Yet, behind the optimistic ‘exercise is medicine’ symbolism, there is evidence that health professions founded on techno-rationalism and scientific evidence-bases are problematic in practice. This thesis therefore critically explores the paradigm underpinning exercise professional education and considers the possible impact of the ‘exercise is medicine’ concept on practice. Specifically, drawing upon debates in the philosophy of medicine, and using an Aristotelian analysis of educational materials, it is argued there is a growing biomedicalisation of exercise. As a result, it is suggested that contemporary exercise science illustrates issues of biomedical scientism which have previously been shown as problematic for medicine’s professions. These include accusations of Gnosticism, thanatology, and a focus on the necrophilic, and hence, it is argued biomedicine is a possible factor in the growing recognition of iatrogenic (injurious) exercise participation. Accordingly, the proposition is made that there may be emerging dangers in the continued biomedicalisation of exercise. Based upon these arguments, this thesis proposes an alternative paradigm through a greater consideration of Aristotle’s practical wisdom and Spinoza’s concepts of perfection and joy. Consequently, the thesis provides an original contribution to professional practice through recommendations for both the development of exercise philosophy and exercise professional education. These include the need for recognising practical wisdom alongside theoretical knowledge in professional education, the shift of exercise professionals from a position of technician to coach, and for greater epistemic debate within the on-going evolution of exercise science.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Thesis Advisors:
Thesis AdvisorEmailURL
Additional Information: Professional Doctorate in Sport
Uncontrolled Keywords: Biomedicalisation of exercise; Exercise philosophy; Exercise professional education
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation Leisure > GV557 Sports
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Education and Science
Depositing User: Susan Turner
Date Deposited: 10 Jan 2024 15:54
Last Modified: 10 Jan 2024 15:58

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