57 Duke L.J. 1725 (2007-2008)
In Defense of Prometheus: Some Ethical, Economic, and Regulatory Issues of Sports Doping

handle is hein.journals/duklr57 and id is 1737 raw text is: Colloquy
IN DEFENSE OF PROMETHEUS:
SOME ETHICAL, ECONOMIC, AND
REGULATORY ISSUES OF SPORTS DOPING
RICHARD A. POSNER
A chapter in The Case Against Perfection: Ethics in the Age of
Genetic Engineering,' a book by Michael Sandel, the well-known
Harvard political philosopher, provides a convenient stepping-off
place for an analysis of the social issues involved in sports doping.
The chapter is entitled Bionic Athletes, and despite the reference
in the subtitle of the book to genetic engineering the chapter is mainly
about doping rather than about genetic alteration; the author returns
to the topic of doping in a later chapter, Mastery and Gift.2 By
sports doping I mean, of course, the use of performance-enhancing
drugs by athletes, though professional athletes will soon resort to
genetic alteration as well or instead, because it will be harder to
detect.3   There    are   other   methods     of   athletic  performance
enhancement as well. Some of them, such as taking up temporary
residence at a very high altitude in order to increase one's red blood
corpuscles, tremble on the edge between tolerated and reprobated
methods of improving one's athletic performance. I will focus on
Copyright  2008 by Richard A. Posner.
t Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit; Senior Lecturer, University of
Chicago Law School. This is the revised draft of a paper given at the Harvard University Re-
Engineering Human Biology Conference on March 19, 2007. I thank Heather Afra and Tara
Kadioglu for their very helpful research assistance.
1. MICHAEL J. SANDEL, THE CASE AGAINST PERFECTION: ETHICS IN THE AGE OF
GENETIC ENGINEERING (2007).
2. Id. at 25-44, 85-100.
3. Richard W. Pound, Editorial, Taking the Lead, PLAY TRUE (World Anti-Doping
Agency, Montreal, Can.), Issue 1 - 2005, at 1, 1 (noting possibility of genetically-altered
athletes in the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics and athletic trainers' reports of trainer inquiries
about the therapies solely to enhance performance); see also SANDEL, supra note 1, at 11
(The widespread use of steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs in professional sports
suggests that many athletes will be eager to avail themselves of genetic enhancement.).
4. See SANDEL, supra note 1, at 32-33 (describing the problem of distinguishing between
simulated high-altitude training and doping).

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