Notice of Online Archive

  • This page is no longer being updated and remains online for informational and historical purposes only. The information is accurate as of the last page update.

    For questions about page contents, contact the Communications Division.

A philosophy graduate teaching his major at Hamilton College in Clinton, N.Y., Robert L. Simon ’63 also led the men’s golf team to two New England Small College Athletic Conference championships. He combines his love of sports with his passion for philosophy in his book Fair Play: The Ethics of Sport, which examines the ethical nature of the sports world.

Simon credits discussions with department colleagues as the inspiration for the book. An avid golfer with an unsuccessful tournament streak, Simon had remarked to some colleagues that winning wasn’t all that mattered, but it was a far greater satisfaction than losing. The other professors disagreed, prompting a heated discussion on the true value of the sports experience, and the ideas for the book were born.

While much attention today is associated with unethical sports practices such as performance-enhancing drugs, Simon is quick to note the balance that exists in the sports world between ethical and unethical decisions. Since the publication of his book, he has continued his research on the subject by publishing several academic articles and an Op-Ed piece in the Philadelphia Inquirer.

The purpose of Simon’s book is twofold. First, he would like his readers to recognize philosophy’s value in clarifying important practical issues. Second, he wants readers to understand the value of sports and the way unethical practices abuse that value.

While the Brooklyn Dodgers sparked his interest in sports, the faculty of Lafayette’s philosophy department set him squarely on his path to becoming a professor himself. Simon remembers the considerable influence of the late George Clark, George Strodach, and John P. Losee.

“Their enthusiasm for philosophy, their skills as teachers, and their overall acuity in the field were the major factors that led me to a career as a philosophy professor,” he says.

Simon has served as president of the International Association for the Philosophy of Sport and received its Distinguished Scholar Award. Last year, he was named Marjorie and Robert W. McEwen Professor of Philosophy.

Categorized in: Alumni Profiles