The Confession Dilemma: Doping, Lying, and Narrative Identity
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionSport, Ethics and Philosophy. 2018. 10.1080/17511321.2018.1465113
Despite the commonly held view that confessing to doping is morally right, few former elite athletes who have doped confess to doping. In this paper, I ask whether elite athletes who have doped are morally obliged to confess. I start by observing that the core of the elite athlete’s confession dilemma is located in the dichotomy between lying and veracity. I argue that lying about doping belongs to a particular kind of lying that, in turn, brings about a particular kind of consequence. More specifically, I consider lying about doping in light of an athlete’s personal narrative identity. Initially, the narrative identity view seems to strongly support an elite athlete’s moral obligation to confess (i.e. to start telling the truth about who they really are). However, viewing narrative identity not merely as description (responding to the question, Who am I?) but also prescription (responding to the question, Who should I be?) complicates this picture. The prescriptive perspective of narrative identity is a gateway to understand the significant negative consequences of confessing to doping. In this way, I call into question commonly held views about the moral obligation to confess.
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