Professor Gunnar Breivik’s work has been foundational in the field of sport philosophy and especially in relation to existential philosophy in sport. For Gunnar, a human being is the homo movens and the homo ludens: a playful and active being that explores the world and its own possibilities. Often drawing on Heidegger’s philosophy and the key ideas in Being and Time, including anxiety, being-towards-death, breakdown and care, he has explored a number of sporting situation and phenomena in his work. Recently, he has also argued that the ways of ‘worldmaking’ disclosed in sport are more ontologically diverse than Heidegger’s classic text opened up for.
In his recent text, “The Sporting Exploration of the World; Toward a Fundamental Ontology of the Sporting Human Being“, Gunnar argued that we can identify four constitutive or primary relations in sport:
‘I-Me’: our sporting activities where our reference point is ourselves. How fast can I throw? How much can I lift? No other people are necessary for the activity to be pursued. Examples could be weight lifting or athletics.
‘I-You’: encounter sports where my skill and cleverness is measured against an opponent. Examples could be badminton, tennis and combat sports.
‘I-Society’: team activities where we become part of a group that seeks to achieve things together (and typically against another team). Examples could be football or basketball.
‘I-Nature’: activities where we interact and relate to the nature. Examples could be snowboarding or fell running.
In the podcast, we focus on exploring these dimensions in more detail and how this philosophical work could be applied in empirical investigations in sport and exercise.
And finally, we explore what kind of ‘things’ are ‘meaning’ and ‘meaningful life’ in Heidegger’s work.
Gunnar Breivik is Professor Emeritus in Sport Social Sciences at the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences, where he was Rector of the School 1999-2005. His pioneering work in philosophy of sport over several decades has covered a range of areas including studies of intentionality, knowledge, skills, and other aspects of human experience and action in sport. Moreover, he has conducted many empirical studies in sport and physical activity from psychological and sociological perspectives, including studies on personality in high-risk sports.