The Athletic Mind: 7 Books That Explore Sports Through Philosophy

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What happens when sports and philosophy meet? There can be a surreal cognitive dissonance there: Monty Python mined that memorably for their “Philosophers Football” sketch, in which a pitched game of soccer featured the likes of Hegel and Socrates on opposing teams. But a small group of writers have, over the years, found a middle ground between the visceral and physical challenges of assorted sports and the heady, cerebral delights that can come from pondering the works of great philosophers.

Here’s a look at seven books that find the common ground between competitive athletic achievement and a measured, layered analysis of the world around us. They come at their subjects from a variety of perspectives – but they also offer readers a way to look at familiar things in an entirely new way.