William Morgan, PhD
Professor of Occupational Science
Room: ASC G21C
Phone: (213) 740-3377
William Morgan received his PhD in 1977 from the University of Minnesota, with a major concentration in philosophy. He has published numerous peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters, and two major books as well as edited and co-edited several published anthologies. He has also presented numerous scholarly papers to national and international conferences. In 2006 his book, Why Sports Morally Matter, was runner up for the best book award from the North American Society for the Sociology of Sport. In 1994, he was awarded the Distinguished Scholar Award by the International Association of the Philosophy of Sport, elected as a Fellow to the American Academy of Kinesiology, and was one of 10 winners of the Chancellor's Research Award, University of Tennessee. In 1988 he was awarded a Senior Fulbright Research Award to conduct research at the University of Marburg in what was then West Germany.
Dr. Morgan's major research interests are focused on ethics, critical theory, and political theory. Most of his work has been devoted to the study of popular culture, especially contemporary sports and the Olympic Games. He is also currently at work on a number of papers that deal specifically with Occupational Science.
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph D) in Philosophy
University Minnesota Minneapolis
Master of Science (MS) in Philosophy
Univ Massachusetts Amherst
Bachelor of Science (BS) in Education
Lock Haven University
Morgan, W. J. (Ed.) (2007). Ethics in sport (2nd ed.). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics Press.
Morgan, W. J. (2006). Why sports morally matter. New York, NY: Routledge Press.
W. J. Morgan (Ed.) (2001). Ethics in sport. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics Press.
W. J. Morgan and K. Meier (Eds.) (1995). Philosophic inquiry in sport (2nd ed.). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.
Morgan, W. J. (1994). Leftist theories of sport: A critique and reconstruction. Champaign, Illinois: University of Illinois Press.
W. J. Morgan (Ed.) (1981). Sport and the humanities: A collection of original essays. Knoxville, TN: Bureau of Educational Research and Service.
Morgan, W. J. (2013). Interpretivism, conventionalism, and the ethical coach. In R. L. Simon (Ed.), The ethics of coaching sports: Moral, social, and legal issues. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.
Morgan, W. J. (2007). Fair is fair, or is it?: A moral examination of the performance-enhancing drug wars in American sports. In A. Schneider & F. Hong (Eds.), Doping in sport. New York, NY: Routledge.
Morgan, W. J. (2007). Why ‘the view from nowhere’ gets us nowhere in our moral considerations of sports. In W. Morgan (Ed.), Ethics in sport (2nd ed.). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics Press.
Morgan, W. J. (2007). Preface, Introduction, and Section Introductions. In W. Morgan (Ed.), Ethics in sport (2nd ed.). Champaign, Illinois: Human Kinetics Press.
Morgan, W. J. (2006). Philosophy and physical education. In D. Kirk, D. Macdonald, & M. O'Sullivan (Eds.), Handbook of research in physical education. London: Sage.
Morgan, W. J. (2004). Habermas and sport: Social theory from a moral perspective. In R. Giulianotti (Ed.), Sport and modern social theorists. London, U.K: Palgrave MacMillan.
Morgan, W. J. (2004). Baseball and the search for an American moral identity. In E. Bronson (Ed.), Baseball and philosophy. Chicago: Open Court Press.
Morgan, W. J. (2004). Welche ethische Betrachtungsweise eignet sich fur den Sport?. In C. Pawlenka (Ed.), Sportethik: Regeln-FairneB-Doping. Paderborn, Germany: Mentis Verlag.
Morgan, W. J. (2004). How not to solve an ethical problem in sport. In S. Loland & V. Moe (Eds.), Movement/on the move: A Festschrift to Gunnar Brievik on his sixtieth birthday. Norway: Gylendahl.
Morgan, W. J. (2002). Sport in the larger scheme of things. In M. A. Holowchak (Ed.), Philosophy of sport: Critical readings, crucial reasons. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Morgan, W. J. (2002). Sports and the making of national identities: A moral view. In M. A. Holowchak (Ed.), Philosophy of sport: Critical readings, crucial reasons. New Jersey: Prentice Hall.
Morgan, W. J. (2001). Patriotic sports and the moral making of nations. In W. J. Morgan (Ed.), Ethics in sport. Champaign, Il: Human Kinetics.
Morgan, W. J. (2000). Change and its discontents. In R. Wisniewski (Ed.), Reforming a college: The University of Tennessee story. Peter Lang Publishers: New York, NY.
Morgan, W. J. (2000). Sports as the moral discourse of nations. In T. Tannsjo & C. Tamburrini (Eds.), Values in sports. New York, NY: Taylor & Francis.
Morgan, W. J. (2000). The moral permissibility of using drugs in sports. In R. A. Mertzman (Ed.), Voices in sport and society. Dubuque, IA: Kendall/Hunt Publishers.
Morgan, W. J. (2000). The philosophy of sport: A historical and conceptual overview and a conjecture regarding its future. In E. Dunning & J. Coakley (Eds.), Handbook of sport studies. London, U.K: Sage.
Morgan, W. J. (1998). Multinational sport and literary practices and their communities: The moral salience of cultural narratives. In M. J. McNamee and S. J. Parry (Eds.), Ethics and sport. London, U.K: EFN Spon Publishers.
Morgan, W. J. (1998). Hassiba Boulmerka and Islamic green: International sports, cultural differences, and their postmodern interpretation. In G. Rail (Ed.), Sport and postmodern times. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.
Morgan, W. J. (1997). Philosophy of sport. In D. Levinson and K. Christensen (Eds.), Encyclopedia of world sport: From ancient times to the present. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO Press.
Morgan, W. J. (1995). The logical incompatibility thesis and rules: A reconsideration of formalism as an account of games. In W. J. Morgan and K. Meier (Eds.), Philosophic inquiry in sport (2nd ed.). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.
Morgan, W. J. (1994). Coubertin's theory of Olympic internationalism: A critical reinterpretation. In R. Barney & K. Meier (Eds.), Critical reflections on Olympic ideology: Second international symposium for Olympic research. London, Ontario: Centre for Olympic Studies.
Morgan, W. J. (1993). Can a liberal theory of sport be a critical one. In W. J. Morgan (Ed.), Die aktualität der sportphilosophie (The relevance of the philosophy of sport). Sankt Augustine, Germany: Academic Verlag.
Morgan, W. J. (1993). Sport as a religious experience. In C. Prebish (Ed.), Religion and sport: The meeting of sacred and profane. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.
Morgan, W. J. (1990). Thinking along with Rorty about disciplines as cultural traditions. In W. J. Morgan (Ed.), New possibilities, new paradigms: The academy papers. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.
Morgan, W. J., & Meier, K. V. (1987). Introductions and bibliographies. In W. Morgan & K. Meier (Eds.), Philosophic inquiry in sport. Champaign, Illinois: Human Kinetics Publishers.
Morgan, W. J. (1987). Play, utopia, and dystopia: A prologue to a ludic theory of the state. In W. Morgan & K. Meier (Eds.), Philosophic inquiry in sport. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.
Morgan, W. J. (1981). Olympism and the sporting life: A socio philosophical critique. In J. Seagrave & D. Chu (Eds.), Olympism. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics Publishers.
Morgan, W. J. (1980). Play and technology: Some preliminary musings. In Morgan, W. J. (Ed.), Sport and the humanities: A collection of original essays. Knoxville, TN: Bureau of Educational Research.
Morgan, W. J. (1979). An analysis of the futural modality of sport. In E. Gerber & W. Morgan (Eds.), Sport and the body: A philosophical symposium. Philadelphia, PA: Lea and Febiger.
Morgan, W. J. (1979). Some Aristotelian notes on the attempt to define sport. In E. Gerber and W. Morgan (Eds.), Sport and the body: A philosophical symposium. Philadelphia: Lea and Febiger.
Morgan, W. J. (1973). A phenomenological analysis of sport as a religious experience. In R. G. Osterhoudt (Ed.), The philosophy of sport: A collection of original essays. Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas.
Morgan, W. J. (2012). The academic reform of intercollegiate athletics: The good, the problematic, and the truly worrisome. Journal of Intercollegiate Sport, 5(1), 90-97.
The purpose of this paper is to provide a response to Harrison's (2012) work. The author highlights the positives associated with many of the academic reform efforts Harrison highlights (i.e., the good); addresses concerns about academic clustering, rewarding teams performing at high academic levels, and athletic administrators' resistance to upset the status quo (i.e., the problematic); and the strong association between efforts for academic reform and large revenue streams found in men's basketball and football (i.e., the truly worrisome). Recommendations and conclusions are advanced.
Morgan, W. J. (2012). Broad internalism, deep conventions, moral entrepreneurs, and sport. Journal of the Philosophy of Sport, 39(1), 65-100. doi:10.1080/00948705.2012.675069.
My argument will proceed as follows. I will first sketch out the broad internalist case for pitching its normative account of sport in the abstract manner that following Dworkin’s lead in the philosophy of law its adherents insist upon. I will next show that the normative deficiencies in social conventions broad internalists uncover are indeed telling but misplaced since they hold only for what David Lewis famously called ‘coordinating’ conventions. I will then distinguish coordinating conventions from deep ones and make my case not only for the normative salience of deep conventions but for their normative superiority over the abstract normative principles broad internalists champion.
Morgan, W. J. (2011). In praise of athletic and cultural mongrelization. Quest, 63(1), 152-157.
Morgan, W. J. (2010). Bullshitters, markets, and the privatization of public discourse about sports. American Behavioral Scientist, 53(11), 1574-1589.
Harry Frankfurt’s best-selling book, On Bullshit, asks why there is so much bullshit today in Western cultures, such as the United States. The scope of Frankfurt’s charge is deliberately broad; he claims that public discourse about just any topic of consequence in American culture is filled with such unseemly speech and writing. The same can be said, the author of this article claims, about public discourse about sport. The author argues that one especially important reason sports discourse is rife with bullshit today is because it is the language and logic of the market that shapes how most people see, understand, and interpret sports. That money does most of the talking in market societies such as the United States is, of course, old news. What is not exactly old news, however, is that the language of the market is not only insufficiently nuanced to capture and express what it is that people find compelling about subjects such as sports, but it is wholly unsuited for such communicative purposes.
Morgan, W. J. (2008). Review of Sandel’s The Case Against Perfection: Ethics in the age of genetic engineering. Journal of Intercollegiate Sport, 1(2), 284-288.
Morgan, W. J. (2008). Some further words on Suits on play. Journal of the Philosophy of Sport, 35(2), 120-141.
Morgan, W. J. (2008). Markets and intercollegiate sports: An unholy alliance. Journal of Intercollegiate Sports, 1(1), 59-65.
I find Bob Simon’s essay “Does Athletics Undermine Academics?” completely persuasive as far as it goes. I want, however, to push his argument further by disentangling two questions that run through his analysis and that when more sharply played off against one another paint a less-than-rosy picture of certain intercollegiate sports at the Division I level. The first question is whether there is a morally and educationally defensible conception of intercollegiate sports. The second, in some ways more pointed, question is whether the reigning conception and practice of intercollegiate sports is morally and educationally defensible. Simon provided a compelling and powerful affirmative response to the first question, arguing that when sports at this level are played in the particular way that he sketches out in his article, they not only do not conflict with the academic values of colleges and universities but reinforce those values. He dubbed this claim, aptly enough, the mutual reinforcement thesis (MRT). Simon’s answer to the second question is more cautious and measured but generally encouraging. It is cautious because it rightly warns us against making overbroad and hasty generalizations about intercollegiate sports given the many different forms in which they come. It is measured because it rejects the bald claim that all is well with intercollegiate sports, when clearly that is not so, but nonetheless, stoutly insists that things are not nearly as bleak in this regard as many critics would have us believe.
Morgan, W. J. (2007). Caring, final ends, and sports. Sport, Ethics, and Philosophy, 1(1), 7-21.
Morgan, W. J. (2006). Review of genetic technology and sport. Journal of the Philosophy of Sport, 33(2), 215-7.
Morgan, W. J. (2006). Fair is fair, or is it: A moral consideration of the drug wars in American sports. Sport in Society: Cultures, Commerce, Media, Politics, 9(2), 177-98.
I argue that the recent major shift in anti-doping strategy by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), which cracks down on athletes who dope by, among other things, trying to build criminal cases against them and by lowering the standard of evidence required to convict dopers from 'beyond a reasonable doubt' to 'comfortable satisfaction', is morally problematic because it treats athletes unfairly. That is not to say that the efforts of USADA to curb doping in sport is itself unjustified, for athletes who dope do indeed violate the principle of fair play - a principle vital to the integrity of all sport. Rather, my argument is that the new anti-doping measures pursued by these athletic agencies go too far and are themselves unfair in the classical sense that they treat similar cases in a dissimilar way.
Morgan, W. J. (2004). Moral antirealism, internalism, and sport. Journal of the Philosophy of Sport, 31(2), 161-183.
Morgan, W. J. (2002). Patriotism revisited. The Philosopher’s Magazine, 17, 49-50.
Morgan, W. J. (2002). Social criticism as moral criticism: A Habermasian take on sports. Journal of Sport and Social Issues, 26(3), 281-299.
Sports at all levels have been racked by one moral controversy after another. It is almost a truism that socialization into sports nowadays has as much to do with becoming adept at breaking and bending rules, not to mention other forms of cheating and violence, as it does with the furtherance of athletic excellence. Surprisingly, although critical social theorists of sports have had plenty to say about these and other shortcomings of contemporary sports, little of what they say touches on their specifically moral character. Habermas’s critical theory of society is a notable exception, claiming, as it does, that if one wants to understand contemporary social practices such as sports, one cannot turn their back on the moral ideals and values that drive them. The author puts Habermas’s theory to the test here, examining how successful it is in shedding light on the moral dilemmas that presently plague sports.
Morgan, W. J. (2002). Review of globalization and sport: Playing the world. European Journal of Cultural Studies, 122-125.
Morgan, W. J. (2002). Review of fair play in sport. Sport, Education and Society, 7(2), 231-233.
Morgan, W. J. (2000). Review of David Miller’s 'On Nationality'. Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 78(2), 294-6.
Morgan, W. J. (2000). Are sports more so private or public practices? A critical look at some recent Rortian interpretations of sport. Journal of the Philosophy of Sport, 27(1), 17-34.
Morgan, W. J. (1999). Patriotic sports and the moral making of nations. Journal of the Philosophy of Sport, 26(1), 50-67.
Morgan, W. J. (1998). Ethnocentrism and the social criticism of sports: A response to Roberts. Journal of the Philosophy of Sport, 25(1), 82-102.
Morgan, W. J. (1997). Yet another critical look at hegemony theory: A response to Ingham and Beamish. Sociology of Sport Journal, 14(2), 187-195.
I take up Ingham's and Beamish's three main criticisms of my previous critique of hegemony theory- that it is "distorted because it ignores that hegemony both sets limits and opens up possibilities, that it overlooks Williams' point that hegemony "is never total or exclusive," and that it falsely claims that Williams opted for an all-inclusive, material base to replace the classical Marxist base superstructure paradigm and argue that they all miss the mark. I thus conclude by reaffirming my major thesis that hegemony sport theory is best regarded as a theory of social containment rather than social transformation because it has no intelligible way of explaining major shifts of dominance, that is, of accounting for the transference of dominance from one group to another.
Morgan, W. J. (1997). Sports and the making of national identities: A moral view. Journal of the Philosophy of Sport, 24(1), 1-20.
Morgan, W. J. (1996). Circular theories, ‘strong evaluation,’ and sports: A response to Booth. Sporting Traditions, 12(2), 115-123.
Morgan, W. J. (1995). 'Incredulity toward metanarratives' and normative suicide: A critique of postmodern drift in critical sport theory. International Review for the Sociology of Sport, 30(1), 49-67.
I argue here against the increasing preoccupation with postmodern motifs evident in contemporary critical treatments of sport. My main gripe with the incorporation of these postmodern themes into critical analyses of sport has to do with their signature attempt to displace normative evaluation and argumentation in favor of the partisan championing of the beliefs of select "marginalized" social groups. I argue that it is this hostility to reason- giving and rational accountability that gets postmodern theorists of sport into trouble, and that jeopardizes the social criticism of sport.
Morgan, W. J. (1995). Cosmopolitanism, Olympism, and nationalism: A critical interpretation of Coubertin's ideal of international sporting life. Olympika: The International Journal of Olympic Studies, 4, 79-92.
Morgan, W. J. (1994). Hegemony theory, social domination, and sport. Sociology of Sport Journal, 2, 309-329.
Morgan, W. J. (1993). Work, play, and utopia: Marx's realms of necessity and freedom revisited. Play Theory and Research, 1(2), 117-140.
Drawing on the works of Habermas (1989) and Karl Marx (1864), the article looks at capitalist modernist and postmodernist theories of play in relation to the realms of freedom and necessity, the meaning of life and utopia. It is argued that, with Marx, the family of social practices that belong to the realm of freedom and that claim play as their wellspring provides the modern age with its best hope for a better life, and offers the best clue as to what such an earthly utopia might look like. It is also argued that this utopian project is itself rooted in our modern historical experience and that we possess the technical know-how to make it a material reality. Habermas and other critics of capitalist modernity consider this approach to be one-sided and adopt a different interpretation of play and utopia which they claim is more rational. The different interpretations are explained and compared.
Morgan, W. J. (1993). Amateurism and professionalism as moral languages: In search of a moral image for sport. Quest, 45(4), 470-493.
In this paper, amateurism and professionalism are treated as moral images, that is, as moral ideals whose point is to enliven and enrich our involvement in sport. Treating them as such enables one to assess their moral fitness as models of sporting conduct, an assessment made imperative by the apparent demise of the amateur ideal and the triumph of the professional ideal. That assessment is made more urgent because the eclipse of amateur sport by professional sport is a morally problematic development: While athletes are entitled to make a living off their athletic accomplishments, they are not entitled to turn sport into a commercial exploit, because doing so compromises and imperils the central goods that underpin and galvanize sport's practice.
Morgan, W. J. (1992). Review essay: Mortal engines: The science of performance and the dehumanization of sport. Journal of the Philosophy of Sport, 19, 101-106.
Morgan, W. J. (1991). Review essay: The philosophy of sport: An overview. Journal of the Philosophy of Sport, 18, 86-89.
Morgan, W. J. (1991). Lasch on sport and the culture of narcissism. A critical reappraisal. Journal of the Philosophy of Sport, 18(1), 1-23.
Morgan, W. J. (1990). Popular cultures and political practices: A review essay. Journal of the Philosophy of Sport, 17, 51-63.
Morgan, W. J. (1989). The impurity of reason: A reflection on the social critique of the philosophy of sport. Journal of the Philosophy of Sport, 15(1), 69-90.
Morgan, W. J. (1988). Adorno on sport: The case of the fractured dialectic. Theory and Society, 17(6), 813-838.
Morgan, W. J. (1987). The logical incompatibility thesis and rules: A reconsideration of formalism as an account of games. Journal of The Philosophy of Sport, 14(1), 1-20.
Morgan, W. J. (1986). In praise of chance. Journal of the Philosophy of Sport, 12, 62-64.
Morgan, W. J. (1986). Sport and political ideology: A critical review essay. Journal of the Philosophy of Sport, 12, 90-96.
Morgan, W. J. (1986). Labor, sport, and critical Theory: A response to Beamish. Sociology of Sport Journal, 3(1), 68-81.
Morgan, W. J. (1985). Radical theory of sport: A critique and conceptual emendation. Sociology of Sport Journal, 2(1), 56-71.
The social theory of sport literature has taken a new and welcome critical turn in the last few years. That turn is revealed in the emergence of a Marxist-based corpus of literature which challenges headlong the fundamental tenets of mainstream (functionalist) sport sociology. The purpose of the present paper is to critically respond to this new critical theory of sport; in particular to its two major versions-what I call, respectively, vulgar Marxist, and hegemonic sport theory. I argue that both versions of this theory are conceptually flawed, and that these conceptual flaws are themselves ideologically grounded. The point of my criticisms, however, is not to undermine or otherwise deflect the critical thrust of this theory, but to suggest that that thrust requires a new conceptual scaffolding which is more sensitive to the ideological temperament of advanced capitalist society.
Morgan, W. J. (1983). Social philosophy of sport: A critical interpretation. Journal of the Philosophy of Sport, 10(1), 33-51.
Morgan, W. J. (1983). Toward a critical theory of sport. Journal of Sport and Social Issues, 7(1), 24-34.
A single, dominant ideology informs both bourgeois and socialist theories of contemporary sport. The gist of this ideology, I argue, is that sport is essentially an instrument of the social order whose central function is to further the economic and political interests of the various nation-states. I restrict my critical attention here to the New Left's perpetuation of this reductionist ideology. My intent in doing so, however, is not to discredit Neo-Marxist sport theory. On the contrary, what I attempt to show is that the New Left's recent advocacy of this ideology vitiates the major tenets of Neo-Marxist thought. My criticism is geared, then, to a resuscitation of the genuine critical thread underlying Neo-Marxist theory. I thus conclude that Neo-Marxist theory, free of ideological distortions, represents one of the most promising critical approaches to understanding the complexities and subtleties of modern sport.
Morgan, W. J. (1982). Critical review essay of Bero Rigauer's 'Sport and Work' translated by Allen Guttmann, Columbia University Press. Journal of the Philosophy of Sport, 9, 78-83.
Morgan, W. J. (1982). Play, utopia and dystopia: Prologue to a ludic theory of the state. Journal of the Philosophy of Sport, 9(1), 30-42.
Morgan, W. J. (1978). A preliminary discourse concerning sport and time. Journal of Sport Behavior, 1(3), 139-146.
Examines the need to change our ordinary understanding of time to one which is specific to sport. To support this claim, an analysis of the relationship between the time in which all material things and mental states have their definite temporal positions which can be measured by chronometers and sport was conducted. Suggests that time and sport be considered on a more fundamental scale entitled subjective time.
Morgan, W. J. (1978). The lived time dimensions of sportive training. Journal of the Philosophy of Sport, 5, 12-26.
Morgan, W. J. (1977). The role and significance of the philosophy of sport in the physical education curriculum. Minnesota Journal for Health, Physical Education and Recreation, 6, 25-27.
Morgan, W. J. (1977). Some Aristotelian notes on the attempt to define sport. Journal of the Philosophy of Sport, 4, 15-35.
Morgan, W. J. (1976). An analysis of the Sartrean ethic of ambiguity as the moral ground for the conduct of sport. Journal of the Philosophy of Sport, 3, 82-96.
Morgan, W. J. (1976). An analysis of the 'futural' modality of sport. Man and World: An International Philosophical Review, 9(4), 418 434.
Morgan, W. J. (1976). On the path towards an ontology of sport. Journal of Philosophy of Sport, 3, 23-34.
Morgan, W. J. (1982). On sponsorship and rights in sport. In Proceedings of the Ninth Annual Philosophic Society for the Study of Sport Symposium. Buffalo, NY.
Morgan, W. J. (2012). Critical review essay [Review of the book All things shining: Reading the Western classics to find meaning in a secular age, by H. Dreyfus & S. D. Kelly]. Journal of the Philosophy of Sport, 39(2), 325-331. doi:10.1080/00948705.2012.725906.