Should Athletes Be Allowed to Use Performance-Enhancing Drugs?


Athletes should not be allowed to use chemicals to improve their performance.

Q1 Analysis

This is not a Q1 violation so long as you are clear about what authority is restricting the use of chemicals, and you have carefully defined "chemicals" and "improve their performance." It may also be a Q1 violation if you think that artificial means could be used to improve performance in other professions.

Q2 Analysis

This is a Q2 violation if you would use chemicals to improve your physical performance as an athlete.


This statement has a number of issues which must be carefully considered and defined before it can pass muster. First, when you say that using chemicals to enhance performance "should not be allowed," by what authority should it not be allowed? The government? A sports authority? Personal morality only? And does the type of competition matter? Should professional sports, amateur sports, school sports, or the Olympics have separate rules? What about sports that are not organized (pickup basketball games, billiards in a local bar) or someone who engages in competitive sports as a hobby or pastime?

You must also define what you mean when you are talking about "chemicals to improve performance." Are you only talking about man-made pharmaceuticals, or are natural substances allowed? Would non-chemical types of performance enhancement also be disallowed? Would you consider correcting a medical condition to be improving performance? What if the performance being enhanced is unrelated to the sport (a professional chess player using steroids to build muscles, for example)? Or if the athlete thinks the chemical will help but it really won’t? If a person uses such chemicals, are they permanently disqualified, or only disqualified so long as the drug has an effect on performance?

Which of the following do you think should disqualify an athlete from competition?

You are encouraged to leave your answers to the questions posed in this post in the comments section. This post is based on an excerpt from Ask Yourself to be Moral, by D. Cancilla, available at and See the 2Q system page for details of the philosophical system mentioned in this post.

Posted on August 20, 2010 at 10:28 am by ideclare · Permalink
In: 2Q

One Response

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  1. Written by NFQ
    on August 20, 2010 at 10:41 am
    Reply · Permalink

    “Eating a good breakfast” is such a good one to include in the list. It makes me think of other cases where people object to “artificial” things but ignore the exact same phenomenon happening in a way they have decided to call “natural” — for example, eugenics is obviously evil, except for when we choose our romantic and sexual partners to be the people we find most attractive and deem most likely to have healthy, intelligent offspring.

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