We have updated our Privacy Policy Please take a moment to review it. By continuing to use this site, you agree to the terms of our updated Privacy Policy.

Knowing the Score

ebook / ISBN-13: 9781472123558

Price: £13.99

ON SALE: 4th May 2017

Genre: Society & Social Sciences / Sociology & Anthropology

Select a format:


Disclosure: If you buy products using the retailer buttons above, we may earn a commission from the retailers you visit.

‘A tour de force that provides fresh insight not only into the nature of sport, but cooperation, the mind, altruism, teamwork, leadership, tribalism and ritualism. It’s a book that every sports fan should read, and every sports writer should absorb’ Matthew Syed

‘David Papineau’s book is an important contribution to our thinking about sports, society, psychology, and moral philosophy. But it is also much more than that. Gripping from start to finish, it is a terrific read full of humour and good sense. You don’t even have to like sports to enjoy it’ Ian Buruma

Why do sports competitors choke? How can Roger Federer select which shot to play in 400 milliseconds? Should foreign-born footballers be eligible to play for England? Why do opposing professional cyclists help each other? Why do American and European golfers hate each other? Why does test cricket run in families? Why is punching tolerated in rugby but not in soccer?

These may not look like philosophical questions, but David Papineau shows that under the surface they all raise long-standing philosophical issues. To get to the bottom of these and other sporting puzzles, we need help from metaphysics or ethics, or from the philosophy of mind or political philosophy, as well as numerous other philosophical disciplines.

Knowing the Score will be an entertaining, fact-filled and erudite book that ranges far and wide through the sporting world. As a prominent philosopher who is also an enthusiastic amateur sportsman and omnivorous sports fan, David Papineau is uniquely well-placed to show how philosophy can illuminate sporting issues. By bringing his philosophical expertise to bear, he will add a new dimension to the way we think about sport.

What's Inside

Read More Read Less


Entertaining, innovative and rewarding
Michael Wheeler, Times Literary Supplement
Entertaining . . . cogent and elegantly expressed . . . Papineau emerges as an intelligent, engaging companion and one with essentially sound judgment . . . Knowing the Score is a philosopher's eulogy to his preferred form of recreation, where playing sport becomes a virtue in itself . . . If you agree with this statement, as I do, then in Knowing the Score you'll find much to enjoy
Richard Beard, The Times
Philosophy and sports would seem to be as different as chalk and cheese. In fact, as David Papineau demonstrates in Knowing the Score, they complement each other, like macaroni and cheese. In 18 brief, clear, stimulating essays, the author, an accomplished philosopher by trade and an enthusiastic sportsman by avocation, shows how the sports we play and follow illuminate such matters as citizenship, the rule of law, cooperation, tradition, and race and ethnicity - that is, the important and enduring issues of social and political life
Michael Mandelbaum
This is what happens when a top philosopher with a razor-sharp analytical intelligence, a wicked sense of humour, and a clear-as-gin prose style takes on the world of sports, which he passionately loves both as a player and fan. Reading Papineau is like having the best sports-bar conversation ever. I was awed by his insights when I wasn't laughing at his anecdotes
Jim Holt
Valuable insight
Simon Kuper, Spectator
David Papineau's book is an important contribution to our thinking about sports, society, psychology, and moral philosophy. But it is also much more than that. Gripping from start to finish, it is a terrific read full of humour and good sense. You don't even have to like sports to enjoy it
Ian Buruma
Excellent on the issues of nationhood and nationality in international sport. He writes with vigour on the collision between sport and money . . . intelligent, plausible investigation
Mail on Sunday
Michael Shermer, The Wall Street Journal Europe
The first time that a world-class philosopher has written a book entirely devoted to sport . . . a scintillating read . . . a marvellous overview of an important subject . . . Above all, this book will strengthen the conviction of those who argue that sport does not merely provide marvellous entertainment but shines a light on fascinating aspects of the human condition
Matthew Syed, The Times