Oct 02, 2017 term paper 2

Analyse the ethical issue using act utilitarianism, identifying all relevant consequences. Compare negative versus positive consequences and assess whether net utility will rise or fall as a result of the ethical act being examined?

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Ethics Of Athletes In Using PED


Analyse the ethical issue using act utilitarianism, identifying all relevant consequences. Compare negative versus positive consequences and assess whether net utility will rise or fall as a result of the ethical act being examined?


The use of Performance enhancing drugs:

Drugs are a medicine which creates a physiological effect when it is consumed or introduced in the body. Drugs which help in enhancing performance had been a common trend among athletes. The revolution started with eminent Olympiad Thomas Hicks when he earned victory in marathon after he was injected with Strychnine amidst the race. Since then many athletes were found to use drugs that has enhanced their performance. Now a day, it is not a surprise to find famous sports personalities using drugs.

Using drugs is an unethical practice. It helps in enhancing the potential but then it becomes unfair to athletes who don’t use drugs. Though drug enables an athlete to perform well yet it becomes a threat in the long term. Knowing that drugs has many side effects that might even kill the athlete then why should athletes use drugs that enhances performance? Moreover, theer is a limit for using drug, if that extends then it becomes a threat to the life f an athlete

The ethical use of Drugs its importance and need analysis.

Many advocate of drug use states that the damaging effects in health have been emphasized. They opine that drugs are a part of sports evolution just like new technologies and improvised techniques of training. In this context the opponents explains that is a means of having unfair advantage over other athletes (Uvacsek et al., 2011).

The Utilitarianism theory explains the ethical and unethical practices (Bykvist, 2009). It includes all the bad and good which have been produced by an act. If an act produces the same level of happiness as produced by any other act by the same individual then it is ethical.

Analyzing the use of Drug in context to Utilitarian theory:

  • Drugs has both positive and negative effects, positive effects are short-lived whereas negative effects is harmful in long term. Out of control use of drugs may conclude to immediate death.

  • The affected person will be the athlete and his team, his country and his family. It would also be unfair for other athletes who are not using drugs (Warner et al., 2002).

  • The ethical action will be no use of drugs.
  • According to hedonism pleasure is the only thing that has something good in itself. The hedonists consider instrumental pleasures which are short lived. So does athletes. They prefer short term pleasures acquired from drug consumption and likewise overlook the negative aspects of drug use. There is negative aspect to drugs like, use of drugs for men my result in impotency, baldness, infertility and shrunken testicles (Robinson and Epshteyn, 2009). For women use of drugs concludes in deeper voice, increased body hair and infrequent menstruation. Apart from these symptoms like psychiatric disorder, inhibited development, heart and circulatory problems, liver abnormalities and hypertension had been had been found (Khing, n.d.).

    Facts relevant to the analysis

    While using PED US Athlete was banned for life after being discovered. He used doping for second time when he used recombinant Erythropoietin a kind of PED (Taipeitimes.com, 2015). Earlier around June 1999, he was caught using anabolic steroid. The steroid boosts an athlete’s performance by increasing the oxygen rich volume of red blood cells. This was because euse of PED was an unfair practice for an athlete.

    Negative Vs positive consequences (Sportsanddrugs.procon.org, 2015)

    • The PED is originally made with the intention of enhancing health. When used appropriately in consultation with experts it works effectively. Steroids can help to reduce bulge from inflammation in time of certain allergies or sickness.

    • There are effects like mood swings and aggressive behavior, severe depression. In case of teenagers, their growth is stopped due to use of PED.
    • Assumptions :

      It can be assumed that the athletes get a pressure in order to perform well on behalf of the country, team as a representative. If it is so, then other countries also feel the same level of pressure but they have a strong morale.

      The pressure can be individual by choice. The allure of darkness attracts, to use unfair means in order to achieve the glory allures every athletes. Some people expect to maintain their standard whereas some chooses to make fame.

      It can also be assumed that the decision of using PED can be the country’s decision. Because there are many athletes who generally cannot afford to get PED, then a question arises how they are getting PED?

      The rise and fall of utility

      Depending on the choice of the Athlete, the Utilitarian theory states that if PED is used and it results in enhanced performance then it is ethical. It is not that other participants also don’t have the choice.

      Negative utility

      Positive Utility

      lived The use of PED slowly causes negative reaction

      Positive effects short-lived

      Doesn’t provides guarantee

      Enhances physical power

      Ethics turns negative

      Matter of choice for the athletes

      Cost effective

      Supports hedonism

      Low satisfactory


      Increases suffering

      Short term achievements

      Pain and suffering

      Pleasure and happiness

      The objective of negative utility is decrease the suffering but it doesn’t provides happiness. Here there is no moral for happiness (Socrethics.com, 2015). Pain is considered as the sole happiness. Negative utility tries to find out solutions on a permanent basis, painlessly. Here positive utilitarianism tries to maximize contentment. Positive utility supports the promotion of happiness, which means that they try to avoid suffering.


It is necessary for an athlete to understand that negative ethics can be overruled, not by avoiding it but by facing it. There are many athletes who had successfully come out form the use of PED where some failed. Those who failed have never tried to come out of it and the world doesn’t recognize them as a hero. The question is not about every athlete should go through PED test, the question is about how to guide the moral ethics of athletes and every people who wants to enhance their performance through shortcut. Athletes are considered as heroes by their followers, the set the example of a perfect idol then it is their responsibility to guide their followers in the right path


Bykvist, K. (2009). Utilitarianism. London: Bloomsbury Publishing.

Khing, T. (n.d.). Performance-enhancing drugs in sports.

Robinson, T. and Epshteyn, M. (2009). Performance-enhancing drugs. Edina, Minn.: ABDO Pub. Co.

Socrethics.com, (2015). Negative Utilitarianism and Justice. [online] Available at: https://www.socrethics.com/Folder2/Justice.htm#C3 [Accessed 11 Mar. 2015].

Sportsanddrugs.procon.org, (2015). Top 10 Pros and Cons - Drug Use in Sports - ProCon.org. [online] Available at: https://sportsanddrugs.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=002352 [Accessed 11 Mar. 2015].

Taipeitimes.com, (2015). US` Jerome Young banned for life for doping violation - Taipei Times. [online] Available at: https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/sport/archives/2004/11/12/2003210824 [Accessed 11 Mar. 2015].

Uvacsek, M., Nepusz, T., Naughton, D., Mazanov, J., Ránky, M. and Petróczi, A. (2011). Self-admitted behavior and perceived use of performance-enhancing vs psychoactive drugs among competitive athletes. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports, 21(2), pp.224-234.

Warner, D., Schnepf, G., Barrett, M., Dian, D. and Swigonski, N. (2002). Prevalence, attitudes, and behaviors related to the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) in student athletes1 1The body of this work was done while D.C.W. and M.S.B. were students at Depauw University and Indiana University School of Medicine, respectively. Journal of Adolescent Health, 30(3), pp.150-153.

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