Case- Competitive Eating
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Write an essay answering all the questions about the case study. You should be able to verbally talk about the case for 5-7 minutes.
Case- Competitive Eating
On July 4, 2018, at the annual Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest on Coney Island in Brooklyn, New York, renowned competitive eater Joey “Jaws” Chestnut set a world record. He consumed seventy-four hot dogs in ten minutes, claiming his eleventh victory in the competition. Chestnut took home the coveted Mustard Belt and a $10,000 prize.
In preparation for competition, Chestnut adheres to a strict diet and training process. During this time, his diet consists of hot dogs, protein supplements, and water. He fasts for a few days leading up to a practice day, when he’ll consume between thirty-five and seventy hot dogs in a sitting. Describing the athletic component of his process, Chestnut says, “I think the whole practice and recovery, it’s similar to marathon runners when they’re slowly ramping up, they hit it and hit it again. … They hit the muscle group, and they let it recover, they hit it again.”
Competitive eaters use special swallowing techniques and learn to relax and stretch their stomachs to accommodate more food. The competitors often appear to be relatively thin and healthy, but not much research has been done to understand the health effects of competitive eating. Side effects of competitive eating include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. In rare cases, competitive eaters may suffer choking, inflammation, and stomach rupture.
Competitive eating spectators may find themselves feeling queasy, but we often admire great athletes, seeing their accomplishments—competitions won, records set—as the pinnacle of human flourishing. Sport challenges competitors physically and mentally. As Joey Chestnut remarked at the 2012 Hot Dog Eating Contest, “This sport isn’t about eating. It’s about drive and dedication, and at the end of the day hot dog eating challenges both my body and my mind.”
1. What would a hedonist, such as J.S. Mill, think about competitive eating?
2. Which concepts, arguments, distinctions, or definitions from Hedonism and Responses to Hedonism would they use to make sense of this case?
3. What would a desire satisfaction theorist, such as Heathwood, think about competitive eating?
4. Which concepts, arguments, distinctions, or definitions from Desire Satisfaction Theory would they use to make sense of this case?
5. What would an objective theorist of welfare, such as Hooker or Wolf, think about competitive eating?
6. Which concepts, arguments, distinctions, or definitions from Objective Theory would they use to make sense of this case?
7. Which of the theories above offers a satisfactory response to the case? Explain why.
8. What does this tell you about the viability of the theory?
9. Do any of the theories above offer an unsatisfactory response to the case? Explain why.
10. What does this tell you about the viability of the theory?
11. Does your analysis of the case change your views on the role of competition in living a good life? Why or why not?