Presentation Title

Three Kinds of Competitive Excellence

Department

English & Humanities

Brief Biography

Daniel Johnson has degrees in Philosophy and Religious Studies from the University of Oregon and a Ph.D. in philosophy from Baylor University. He works in the areas of metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of religion, and the history of both European and Asian philosophy. He is married with three children, all boys, who enjoy sports like Frying Pan Baseball and Run into Dad as Hard as Possible.

Presentation Location

University Center East Ballroom

Presentation Start Date and Time

19-2-2019 12:30 PM

Presentation End Date and Time

19-2-2019 1:30 PM

Brief Abstract

I call the trait that makes for a good or great competitor, the trait that makes its possessor compete well, ‘competitive excellence.’ We seem to be of two minds about this trait: On the one hand, we often admire great competitors, but on the other hand, we sometimes identify their competitive drive as ‘pathological,’ recognizing something unhealthy in it. Why are we so ambivalent? The answer I will defend is that there are at least three distinct traits, which I name Competitive Pride, Competitive Overcoming, and Competitive Respect, each of which satisfies the definition of competitive excellence and so has something of a claim to be the trait we admire in great competitors. One of these traits is a virtue, one a vice, and one can be either a virtue or a vice depending on what other traits accompany it. And, interestingly, it is the vice which most closely answers to our ordinary conception of a great competitor. This accounts for our deep ambivalence about great competitors and implies that we should only seek to be great competitors in a qualified sense.

Presentation Length

45-50 min.

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Feb 19th, 12:30 PM Feb 19th, 1:30 PM

Three Kinds of Competitive Excellence

University Center East Ballroom

I call the trait that makes for a good or great competitor, the trait that makes its possessor compete well, ‘competitive excellence.’ We seem to be of two minds about this trait: On the one hand, we often admire great competitors, but on the other hand, we sometimes identify their competitive drive as ‘pathological,’ recognizing something unhealthy in it. Why are we so ambivalent? The answer I will defend is that there are at least three distinct traits, which I name Competitive Pride, Competitive Overcoming, and Competitive Respect, each of which satisfies the definition of competitive excellence and so has something of a claim to be the trait we admire in great competitors. One of these traits is a virtue, one a vice, and one can be either a virtue or a vice depending on what other traits accompany it. And, interestingly, it is the vice which most closely answers to our ordinary conception of a great competitor. This accounts for our deep ambivalence about great competitors and implies that we should only seek to be great competitors in a qualified sense.