Sport Science: Ontological and Methodological Considerations
Sport is the research object of variety of sciences. But, what is sport and how to think it? The aim of this article is to give some basic thoughts about the nature of sport and to present, confront and evaluate different concepts of science with their different rival approaches and understanding of sport. In general three major groups of sciences can be differentiated: natural sciences and social sciences which share common quantitative (empirical and mathematical based) methodology of research, and human sciences or humanities with their method of reflection (the analysis of concepts and rational argumentation) which go beyond empirically measurable things. Because of different scientific approaches, different understanding and concepts of sport arise which try to prevail over in society. Our comprehension of sport is therefore greatly influenced by pre-accepted methodological position. If sport is equated with physical human body movement, then natural science with its empirical methodology seems to be adequate way for cognition of sport. For social scientists sport has important role in society, therefore it cannot be reduced to mere “body movement”. But humanists would say that sport is more than “body in movement” with influence in society: sport is a powerful idea or concept which needs a special unempirical method of research. Therefore human sciences with their rational reflection of human (personal) experiences can reveal us additional, but yet familiar dimensions of sport. Although their method is not empirically objective, they can deal with important life matters, moreover, their “a priori” qualitative approach to sport can give meaning and make sense out of sport, reflect about the aim and purpose of sport as well as make some ethical considerations about sport. In the article some examples are given and some problems regarding reduction of sport science to just one scientific approach are considered.
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