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Tennis and Philosophy: What the Racket is All About (Philosophy Of Popular Culture) Hardcover – April 16, 2010

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Editorial Reviews


"Tennis and Philosophy is a unique book with entertaining and insightful discussions of the beauty, ethics, and competitive nature of the sport. This book should be read by players as well as fans of tennis who want to deepen their appreciation of the sport."―Michael W. Austin, editor of Football and Philosophy: Going Deep"

"Profiling some of today's great tennis professionals, including Roger Federer and the Williams sisters, the book examines these athletes through a variety of philosophical topics, including beauty and the role of rivalry. These essays give an insightful and refreshing outlook on one of the world's most popular sports."―"

"Tennis and Philosophy features writing by university-based philosophers who really love thinking about tennis. While their professional familiarity is with the likes of Immanuel Kant, Alasdair MacIntyre, Ludwig Wittgenstein and Zeno and schools of thought from formalism to stoicism, they also appear comfortable as fans debating the legacy of Arthur Ashe (to whom the book is dedicated) as well as the beauty of Anna Kournikova, the burnout of Andrea Jaeger, and, of course, why tennis matters."―Kent Oswald,"

"Let the debate continue and the brain games begin."―Michael Mewshaw,"

"The contributions are proficient yet entertaining, and show an appreciation for tennis. The essays serve as a refresher course in philosophical thought and offer a different spin than one usually finds in sports studies."―Science & Technology"

"The essays serve as a refresher course in philosophical thought and offer a different spin than one usually finds in sports studies."―Choice"

"It is one that will likely be enjoyable enough for non-philosphers that it can be recommended as a kind of popular culture that will hopefully create added interest in philospophy without misrepresenting its status as an academic discipline."―Scott Woodcock"


From the Inside Flap

Tennis volleyed onto the worldwide athletic scene soon after its modern rules and equipment were introduced in nineteenth-century England. Exciting, competitive, and uniquely accessible to people of all ages and levels of talent, tennis continues to enjoy popularity, as both a recreational activity and a spectator sport. Each year, millions of fans around the world tune in to the Grand Slam championships to witness the intense drama and fierce rivalries of the game.

In Tennis and Philosophy: What the Racket Is All About, editor David Baggett assembles a team of champion scholars to reflect on philosophical questions that often emerge in the sport. Profiles of tennis greats such as John McEnroe, Roger Federer, the Williams sisters, and Arthur Ashe are paired with analyses of ethics, aesthetics, politics, and other fields of philosophical inquiry. Each chapter demonstrates a sophisticated understanding of the game as well as a heartfelt respect for its history and value.

The volume opens with a piece by the acclaimed novelist David Foster Wallace, who, with equal parts humor and adoration, likens the athletic performance of Roger Federer to a religious experience. David Detmer examines the ethics of rage by applying the theories of utilitarianism and deontologism to the behavior of athletes on the courts. David Baggett and Neil Delaney Jr. dissect the complex roles of rivalry and friendship in competition. Kevin Kinghorn explores the culture surrounding "tennis parents" and their children, who are often pushed at a very young age to compete and succeed as tennis players. Helen Ditouras centers a discussion of race and gender on the media's disparate coverage of Anna Kournikova and Serena Williams.

Written by philosophers and lovers of the game, Tennis and Philosophy offers substantive philosophical analyses of tennis for fans and scholars alike.


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Product Details

  • Series: Philosophy Of Popular Culture
  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: University Press of Kentucky; 1 edition (April 16, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 081312574X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0813125749
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #307,968 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Chulis on May 12, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This book is incredible, starting with David Foster Wallace's piece on Federer as religious experience. In and of itself, that makes the book worth it right there! Wallace was prodigiously gifted as a writer and this is one of his best essays on tennis that he did. But after that the book still has much to offer. Whether Federer is the all-time best, pushy tennis parents, rivalry and friendship, the nature of sportsmanship, the "Kournikova Phenomenon," whether a great tennis film is possible, a dialogue with Kant, an essay on Arthur Ashe, a chapter on the Riggs/King Battle of the Sexes, an interview with Brad Gilbert. This book's got an incredible amount to offer! Highly recommended.
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