• Agerico De Villa

Philosophy of Sport and ICT




So, I write a Philosophy of Sport piece upon request of DLSU — something about sport, cyberspace and AGI. It turns out I get asked to give the keynote lecture for the event, the first Philippine Philosophy of Sport international conference.

Encouraged after the event, I convince the undersecretary of the Department of Education to launch a program on Philosophy of Sport. He agrees and I am referred to a team to handle the project.

I organize a team of scholars, two from UP Diliman, one from DLSU and one from Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand. We finish a collection of original pieces on Philosophy of Sport good enough for a book.

I am interviewed live for a nationwide broadcast with over six thousand Physical Education teachers and coaches viewing the interview online.

Now, no more. Nothing.

As per discussions with panelists from the best of the Department of Education, including one who has a doctorate in Philosophy of Sport, my guess is that no one at the department really understands the value of philosophy, whether philosophy at large, on one hand, and Philosophy of Sport, on the other hand. At least, that is by my standard.

What we want to deliver are graduates who are in control of their future, dependent on their capacity to reason, independent of the gods and the deities. This means they are expected to have the capacity to predict the future accurately using science and mathematics. This means that they are equipped with mental models whose workings they genuinely understand. This means they know the mechanics of reasoning, therefore the value of coherence and what contradictions indicate among one’s thoughts.

Those I have dealt with have not understood this. So, the Department of Education is launching together with other agencies what is to be the National Academy of Sports not knowing what the academy’s philosophy of sport is all about.

I am not disheartened, however. it looks to me that the kids today, better than those from my generation, are more open to think of their minds as mental models, input-output systems. This, thanks, of course, to their exposure to Information Communication Technology

This is from the introduction of the book we have rushed writing for the department.

"Focus on the expression, noted above, “mental model.”


"Think of “mental model” as a machine. Like any other machine it may work, or it may not. Like any other machine, it may work well or it may not work well. One of the measures of whether it works or works well is fitness of its parts along with all the others — how well one part works with all the others. Do the parts fit together well or not?


"In addition, think of this machine as a time travel spacecraft. With this craft, you can go into the past, or you can go into the future. This means you can have a vision of the future with it as your tool.


"A farmer who knows which months of the future promise no rain and which months promise rain, of course, is the farmer expected to have better harvest than those who have no such knowledge of the future. This means he has more chances of survival, meaning, too, more control over his destiny.


"This is, of course, if the farmer has a reliable tool, a reliable craft with which he is able to get into the future.


"For mental models to work well, all the parts of it have to fit together well with all the other parts. When some parts do not fit well with the others, meaning there are pain points involved, the mental model is not expected to work well, meaning the mental model does not give accurate predictions about the future.


"What does it mean for a mental model to have pain points? It means that the mental model has contradictions. It has conflicts that put the model, the system, in chaos.

A coherent mental model is a reliable mental model. Coherent means not having contradiction as much as the system can afford. The more coherent, the less contradiction is involved. The more contradiction involved, the less coherent the system is.

Mental models are philosophies. On the basis of the knowledge content that we have within our mental models plus the system with which this content is organized, the future may be predicted with much reliability. That is, so long as the system involved is coherent or as coherent as it can be made.


"This is how we predict the paths of typhoons, for example, or the trajectories of satellites. We use models, in the case of humans, mental models.


"Contradictions are pain points that indicate challenge. Someone produces a vacuum and lights up a candle. He observes that light can travel through a vacuum. Contradiction is noted. How can light travel through nothing? Same with electricity, how can electricity travel through nothing? In Physics, for example, such contradictions pose challenges to become creative. In this case of the behavior of light and the behavior of electricity, these have led to reinvention of the concepts of Physics as a discipline and have led to invention of Einsteinian Physics.


"This is the reason why it pays to be involved with Philosophy. It may be Philosophy of Physics that deals with the pain points of Physics. It may be Philosophy of Science that deals with the pain points of Science. It may be Philosophy of Mathematics that deals with the pain points of mathematics.


When those who are involved with sport at large become aware of the pain points involved with sport, they get to face challenges that when overcome, using human capacity to be creative, new possibilities are opened. This is what is hoped for when everyone gets involved with Philosophy of Sport."


This I see. The next generation is going to appreciate philosophy more, not this one in charge of many things now. We need to wait. Meanwhile, we have a National Academy of Sports that has no clear view of its own philosophy of sport.


Photograph is of a class handled by one of the company founders, Prince Javier.

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