Professional Baseball and Performance-Enhancing Drugs: A Virtue Ethics Perspective

Document Type



As a life-long fan and a former school player of baseball, my view on performance-enhancing drugs is not neutral: I think they are a scourge on the sport. As a philosopher who teaches ethics to university students preparing for professional careers, I also think performance-enhancing drugs are a serious ethical problem in the arena of professional sport. While most baseball fans agree that the use of performance-enhancing drugs should be banned from the sport, and many even think that players caught using them should be banned too, the philosophical question is, why should that be so? This question may be analyzed from the perspectives of various ethical theories – for example, Kantianism, libertarianism, and utilitarianism. However, I will argue that none of these theories can tell us why performance-enhancing drug use should be banned, and that getting to the heart of the matter requires recourse to the ancient theory of virtue ethics.

Publication Date