Dr John William Devine
Sports Science
Telephone: (01792) 513311
Room: Academic Office - A115
First Floor
Engineering East
Bay Campus

John William is a member of A-Stem's Elite and Professional Sport group.

  • Called to the Bar of England and Wales (Middle Temple)
  • D.Phil - University of Oxford
  • M.Phil - University of Cambridge
  • BA - University College Dublin

John William is Lecturer in Sports Ethics and Integrity at Swansea University. He obtained a BA in Philosophy and Politics at University College Dublin, an MPhil in Philosophy at the University of Cambridge (King’s College), and a DPhil in Political Theory at the University of Oxford (New College). He subsequently trained as a barrister and was called to the Bar of England and Wales by Middle Temple. Prior to arriving at Swansea University, he held positions in the philosophy departments at the University of Birmingham, King’s College London, and Trinity College Dublin.

His research concerns Political Philosophy and the Philosophy of Sport. Within Political Philosophy, his work centres on ethics in public office, especially ethical questions that arise for political leaders within liberal democracies. He argues for the necessity to good government of leaders who possess specific ‘political virtues’.

Within the Philosophy of Sport, he works on the value and ethics of sport. He is especially interested in questions concerning the proper purpose of sport and the challenges posed to that by different forms of ‘enhancement’. He is exploring ethical questions around enhancement in a monograph provisionally titled 'Ethics, Excellence, and Enhancement in Sport', which is due to be published by Routledge in late 2019. He holds that crucial to the ethics of enhancement is whether a given enhancement undermines or advances the overriding purpose of sport as the display of ‘sporting excellence’.

Areas of Expertise

  • Political Philosophy
  • Moral Philosophy
  • Philosophy of Sport
  • Applied Ethics


  1. Gender, Steroids, and Fairness in Sport. Sport, Ethics and Philosophy, 1-9.
  2. & Beyond ‘crude pragmatism’ in sports coaching: Insights from C.S. Peirce, William James, and John Dewey: A commentary. International Journal of Sports Science & Coaching 12(1), 35-37.


  • SR-368 Sport Integrity, Ethics and Policy

    This module examines the role of ethics in assessing the rationality of practice, policy, and governance in sport. The module will help students to develop a deeper understanding of the ethical dimensions of practical decisionmaking in sport and the philosophical foundations that underlie these ethical debates. Students will come to appreciate the significance of ethics in various sporting contexts, and they will develop their understanding of what constitutes a rationally defensible ethical approach to sport.

  • SRE700 Ethical theory, sports ethics and integrity

    This module develops an understanding of the need for ethical theory in sports ethics and of the role that the theories of deontology, consequentialism, rights theory and virtue ethics play within the organization of sport, and in the experience of sporting competitions. Students will come to appreciate the often hidden role that ethical theory plays in critical argumentation about key ethical issues in sports and sport integrity.


  • A Conceptual Analysis of 'Sport Integrity' and a Case Study Upon the Duty of Care Owed to Elite Athletes by a Sports National Governing Body (current)

    Student name:
    Other supervisor: Prof Michael Mcnamee