Philosophy and the Martial Arts: Engagement

In both western and eastern traditions, philosophers have long treated the martial arts as pursuits worthy of philosophical reflection. Edited by Graham Priest and Damon Young, this is the first substantial academic book to lay out the philosophical terrain within the study and understanding of the martial arts and to explore the significance of this fascinating subject for contemporary philosophy.

The book is divided into three sections. The first section concerns what philosophical reflection can teach us about the martial arts, and especially the nature and value of its practice. The second section deals with the other direction of the dialectical interplay between philosophy and the martial arts: how the martial arts can inform philosophical issues important in their own right. Finally, because many of the notable martial arts are of Asian origin, there are particularly close links between the arts and Asian philosophies – and Buddhism in particular – and therefore the last section is devoted to this topic.

The essays in this collection deal with a wide range of philosophical issues: normative ethics, meta-ethics, aesthetics, phenomenology, the philosophy of mind, Ancient Greek and Buddhist thought. By demonstrating the very real nature of the engagement between the martial arts and philosophy, this book is essential reading for any serious student or scholar with an interest in the martial arts, Eastern philosophy, the philosophy of sport, or the study of physical culture.

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