If we think it’s wrong for professional athletes to use performance enhancing drugs, why shouldn’t we think it’s also wrong for professional actors to do so? Christopher Gyngell considers this question at the Uehiro Center’s Practical Ethics blog in a recent post on “Doping in Hollywood“.
(image: Jake Gyllenhaal)
Sorry I’m coming across this late.
“If we think it’s wrong for professional athletes to use performance enhancing drugs, why shouldn’t we think it’s also wrong for professional actors to do so? ”
My proposed answer is that we care about the competitive aspect of sport (who beat whom), whereas we care about the objective qualities of an actor’s performance, not the details of how he might have beat out other actors for the role.
Athletic doping should be banned because it leads to an arms race scenario, where every athlete has to do more and more harmful things just to stay competitive. The same argument doesn’t apply to actors, because acting isn’t competitive.
See my 2012 paper, *Why Athletic Doping Should Be Banned* (Journal of Applied Philosophy 29, 1: 33-49) for more. I don’t talk about acting there, but I talk about performance enhancement for musicians (who often take prescription drugs to calm themselves before a big performance), which raises similar issues.