The Other in A Sand County Almanac. Aldo Leopold’s Animals and His Wild-Animal Ethic

Environmental Ethics 33 (2):115-146 (2011)
Abstract
Much philosophical attention has been devoted to “The Land Ethic,” especially by Anglo-American philosophers, but little has been paid to A Sand County Almanac as a whole. Read through the lens of continental philosophy, A Sand County Almanac promulgates an evolutionary-ecological world view and effects a personal self- and a species-specific Self-transformation in its audience. It’s author, Aldo Leopold, realizes these aims through descriptive reflection that has something in common with phenomenology-although Leopold was by no stretch of the imagination a phenomenologist. Consideration of human-animal intersubjectivity, thematized in A Sand County Almanac, brings to light the moral problem of hunting and killing animal subjects. Leopold does not confront that problem, but it is confronted and resolved by Jose Ortega y Gasset, Henry Beston, and Paul Shepard in terms of an appropriate human relationship with wild-animal Others. Comparison with the genuinely Other-based Leopold-Ortega-Beston-Shepard wild-animal ethic shows the purportedly Other-based human and possibly animal ethic of Emmanuel Levinas actually to be Same-based after all
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