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Peter M. Hopsicker

Associate Professor of Kinesiology, Penn State

My research agenda includes two specific tracks: one in the philosophy of sport and one in the history of sport. In the sport philosophy discipline, and often using the works of Michael Polanyi, I investigate cognition in motor behavior—the differences between “knowing how” (practical knowledge) and “knowing that” (propositional knowledge). Recently, my fourth article on the topic, “The Importance of Imagination in Aesthetic Experience: A Polanyian Response to Elcombe” (2015), was published in the Journal of the Philosophy of Sport (JPS), and about a year ago my article, “The Value of the Inexact: An Apology for Inaccurate Motor Performance” (2013), was published in the same journal.

As part of a three-essay research project with a colleague from PSU Lehigh Valley, I also examine endurance sport through a pragmatic, experiential lens using the works of William James, John Dewey and other American pragmatists and transcedentalists. Most recently, our article “Finding the ‘Me’ in Endurance Sports: An Apology for Runners & Joggers and Cyclists & Riders” was published in Kinesiology Review (2014). This comes after the first article in the series, “The Heights of Humanity: Endurance Sport and the Strenuous Mood,” was published in JPS in May 2012. The third essay in this project is targeted for presentation at the 2015 International Association for the Philosophy of Sport (IAPS) conference and, with any luck, publication shortly thereafter in a major sport philosophy journal such as JPS or Sport, Ethics and Philosophy (SEP), the British Philosophy of Sport Association’s journal. I also published a book chapter in Cycling and Philosophy titled “Learning to Ride a Bike” (2010) and a book review (2013) within this line of inquiry.

Two other smaller interests in sport philosophy have netted significant publications—specifically sport and spirituality and the nature of the discipline of Sport Philosophy. As to the former, the interfacing of sport and spirituality, I published two journal articles, one co-authored book chapter, and three book reviews. Most recently, my work “A Modern Conception of Flesh: Towards a Theology of Disability Sport” (2014) was published in the Journal of Disability and Religion and has been reprinted as a chapter in a subsequent book. A recent book review on this topic was also published in the Journal of Sport History (2012), and I have another review of another book forthcoming in SEP. My efforts here have resulted in an invitation to be “co-strand leader” at the Inaugural Global Congress on Sports and Christianity to be held in 2016, to present a paper at this Congress, to be on the founding editorial board of the International Journal of Sports and Christianity, and potentially to be the co-editor of a book titled The Theology/Philosophy of Disability Sport—all of which I have accepted.

As to the latter interest, the state of the Sport Philosophy discipline, I have published four review articles in both JPS and the International Journal of Physical Education. This groundwork not only netted me a recent book chapter in Torres’ The Bloomsbury Companion to the Philosophy of Sport titled “Sport Philosophy Around the World” (2014) and the Critical Concepts in Sport Studies: The Philosophy of Sport four-volume edited work for Routledge Publishers (projected 2014), but also built the support necessary for my current inclusion on the JPS Editorial Board and IAPS “Translation Project” and “Archive and Oral History Project.”

My other major research interest is in the sport history discipline. Using the Adirondack Park in New York State as a case study, I focus on the historical interaction of environmental law and policy, local recreational development, and international sport. I currently have five journal articles published in this line of inquiry in three different peer-reviewed journals, the most recent being “Racing with Death: The Not-So-Ordinary Happenings of the 1932 Lake Placid Olympic Bobsled Events” in the Journal of Sport History (2014). I have two additional manuscripts in progress, both of which I presented at the North American Society for Sport History’s (NASSH) annual conference in 2011 and 2014. I envision a future book on this topic. I have also been asked and have agreed to be a guest editor for the International Journal of Sport History’s special volume dedicated to the 50th anniversary of the Super Bowl (2017).


  • –present
    Associate Professor of Kinesiology, Pennsylvania State University


  • 2006 
    The Pennsylvania State University, PhD Kinesiology: History and Philosophy of Sport