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The Agrarian Vision: Sustainability and Environmental Ethics

University Press of Kentucky (2010)

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  1. People Work to Sustain Systems: A Framework for Understanding Sustainability.Ian Werkheiser & Zachary Piso - 2015 - Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management 141 (12).
    Sustainability is commonly recognized as an important goal, but there is little agreement on what sustainability is, or what it requires. This paper looks at some common approaches to sustainability, and while acknowledging the ways in which they are useful, points out an important lacuna: that for something to be sustainable, people must be willing to work to sustain it. The paper presents a framework for thinking about and assessing sustainability which highlights people working to sustain. It also briefly discusses (...)
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  • Sustainability of What? Recognizing the Diverse Values That Sustainable Agriculture Works to Sustain.Zachary Piso, Ian Werkheiser, Samantha Noll & Christina Leshko - 2016 - Environmental Values 25 (2):195-214.
    The contours of sustainable systems are defined according to communities’ goals and values. As researchers shift from sustainability-in-the-abstract to sustainability-as-a-concrete-research-challenge, democratic deliberation is essential for ensuring that communities determine what systems ought to be sustained. Discourse analysis of dialogue with Michigan direct marketing farmers suggests eight sustainability values – economic efficiency, community connectedness, stewardship, justice, ecologism, self-reliance, preservationism and health – which informed the practices of these farmers. Whereas common heuristics of sustainability suggest values can be pursued harmoniously, we discuss (...)
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  • Beyond Moral Fundamentalism: John Dewey’s Pragmatic Pluralism in Ethics and Politics.Steven Fesmire - 2018 - Oxford Handbook of Dewey.
    Drawing on unpublished and published sources from 1926-1932, this chapter builds on John Dewey’s naturalistic pragmatic pluralism in ethical theory. A primary focus is “Three Independent Factors in Morals,” which analyzes good, duty, and virtue as distinct categories that in many cases express different experiential origins. The chapter suggests that a vital role for contemporary theorizing is to lay bare and analyze the sorts of conflicts that constantly underlie moral and political action. Instead of reinforcing moral fundamentalism via an outdated (...)
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  • An Agrarian Imaginary in Urban Life: Cultivating Virtues and Vices Through a Conflicted History. [REVIEW]Christopher Mayes - 2014 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 27 (2):265-286.
    This paper explores the influence and use of agrarian thought on collective understandings of food practices as sources of ethical and communal value in urban contexts. A primary proponent of agrarian thought that this paper engages is Paul Thompson and his exceptional book, The Agrarian Vision. Thompson aims to use agrarian ideals of agriculture and communal life to rethink current issues of sustainability and environmental ethics. However, Thompson perceives the current cultural mood as hostile to agrarian virtue. There are two (...)
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  • The Agricultural Ethics of Biofuels: Climate Ethics and Mitigation Arguments.Paul B. Thompson - 2012 - Poiesis and Praxis 8 (4):169-189.
    An environmental, climate mitigation rationale for research and development on liquid transportation fuels derived from plants emerged among many scientists and engineers during the last decade. However, between 2006 and 2010, this climate ethic for pursuing biofuel became politically entangled and conceptually confused with rationales for encouraging greater use of plant-based ethanol that were both unconnected to climate ethics and potentially in conflict with the value-commitments providing a mitigation-oriented reason to promote and develop new and expanded sources of biofuel. I (...)
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  • “There’s an App for That”: Technical Standards and Commodification by Technological Means.Paul B. Thompson - 2012 - Philosophy and Technology 25 (1):87-103.
    Though the term “commodification” is used broadly, a theory of the processes by which goods become exchangeable and in fact objects of monetized exchange reveals a key site for technological politics. Commodities are goods that are alienable, somewhat rival, generally with low exclusion costs, and that are often consumed in use. Technological advances can affect all of these traits for certain goods, effectively bringing about a process of commodification by technological means. However, in order to function with specific contexts, technologies (...)
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  • Ethics in Agenda 21.Sarah E. Fredericks - 2014 - Ethics, Policy and Environment 17 (3):324-338.
    Although environmental ethicists often focus on applying ethics to policy, the ethics embedded in policy documents such as Agenda 21 are also significant. Though largely ignored by ethicists after early responses to the document focused on intrinsic value, Agenda 21's ethics are particularly valuable for their ability to resonate with many people and link politics, technical studies, and ethics. For instance, their use draws attention to the need to ethically evaluate sustainability indexes and identifies limitations of existing indexes. At a (...)
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  • What Happens to Environmental Philosophy in a Wicked World?Paul B. Thompson & Kyle Powys Whyte - 2012 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 25 (4):485-498.
    What is the significance of the wicked problems framework for environmental philosophy? In response to wicked problems, environmental scientists are starting to welcome the participation of social scientists, humanists, and the creative arts. We argue that the need for interdisciplinary approaches to wicked problems opens up a number of tasks that environmental philosophers have every right to undertake. The first task is for philosophers to explore new and promising ways of initiating philosophical research through conducting collaborative learning processes on environmental (...)
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  • The Ethics of Food for Tomorrow: On the Viability of Agrarianism—How Far Can It Go? Comments on Paul Thompson’s Agrarian Vision.Raymond Anthony - 2012 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 25 (4):543-552.
    Abstract I consider Paul Thompson’s Agrarian Vision from the perspective of the philosophy of technology, especially as it relates to certain questions about public engagement and deliberative democracy around food issues. Is it able to promote an attitudinal shift or reorientation in values to overcome the view of “food as device” so that conscientious engagement in the food system by consumers can become more the norm? Next, I consider briefly, some questions to which it must face up in order to (...)
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  • Sustainable Livestock Farming as Normative Practice.Corné J. Rademaker, Gerrit Glas & Henk Jochemsen - 2017 - Philosophia Reformata 82 (2):216-240.
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  • Is Eating Locally a Moral Obligation?Gregory R. Peterson - 2013 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 26 (2):421-437.
    Advocates of eating locally offer a wide range of arguments in favor of the practice, but their ethical import is not always clear. Some locavore statements and arguments seem to imply a strong form of moral obligation; that eating locally is not merely instrumental to some other good, but has intrinsic value in its own right. This article examines standard arguments on behalf of eating locally, including arguments linked to the value of small farms and agrarianism, the environment, taste and (...)
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  • Industrial Farm Animal Production: A Comprehensive Moral Critique.John Rossi & Samual A. Garner - 2014 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 27 (3):479-522.
    Over the past century, animal agriculture in the United States has transformed from a system of small, family farms to a largely industrialized model—often known as ‘industrial farm animal production’ (IFAP). This model has successfully produced a large supply of cheap meat, eggs and dairy products, but at significant costs to animal welfare, the environment, the risk of zoonotic disease, the economic and social health of rural communities, and overall food abundance. Over the past 40 years, numerous critiques of IFAP (...)
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  • Re-Envisioning the Agrarian Ideal.Paul B. Thompson - 2012 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 25 (4):553-562.
    Abstract Critics of The Agrarian Vision: Sustainability and Environmental Ethics (Lexington: 2010, University Press of Kentucky) have difficulties with its commitment to agrarian philosophy, and have also suggested that the program described there needs more elaboration of how sustainability might be pursued, especially in its social dimensions. The book draws upon agrarian philosophy to argue that habit and material practice are an appropriate and vital focus of ethics. Attention to habit and material practice will counterbalance an overemphasis on intentions and (...)
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  • An Experiential, Game-Theoretic Pedagogy for Sustainability Ethics.Jathan Sadowski, Thomas P. Seager, Evan Selinger, Susan G. Spierre & Kyle P. Whyte - 2013 - Science and Engineering Ethics 19 (3):1323-1339.
    The wicked problems that constitute sustainability require students to learn a different set of ethical skills than is ordinarily required by professional ethics. The focus for sustainability ethics must be redirected towards: (1) reasoning rather than rules, and (2) groups rather than individuals. This need for a different skill set presents several pedagogical challenges to traditional programs of ethics education that emphasize abstraction and reflection at the expense of experimentation and experience. This paper describes a novel pedagogy of sustainability ethics (...)
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  • What Food is “Good” for You? Toward a Pragmatic Consideration of Multiple Values Domains.Donald B. Thompson & Bryan McDonald - 2013 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 26 (1):137-163.
    What makes a food good, for you? With respect to food, the expression “good for you” usually refers to the effect of the food on the nutritional health of the eater, but it can also pertain more broadly. The expression is often used by a person who is concerned with another person’s well-being, as part of an exhortation. But when framed as a question and addressed to you, as an individual, the question can require a response, calling for accountability beyond (...)
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  • Kristina A. Vogt, Toral Patel-Weynand, Maura Shelton, Daniel J. Vogt, John C. Gordon, Calvin T. Mukumoto, Asep S. Suntana and Patricia A. Roads: Sustainability Unpacked: Food, Energy and Water for Resilient Environments and Societies. [REVIEW]Orla Shortall - 2013 - Agriculture and Human Values 30 (3):487-488.
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  • Do Locavores Have a Dilemma? Economic Discourse and the Local Food Critique.Helen Scharber & Anita Dancs - 2016 - Agriculture and Human Values 33 (1):121-133.
    Local food critics have recently argued that locavores, unaware of economic laws and principles, are ironically promoting a future characterized by less food security and more environmental destruction. In this paper, we critically examine the ways in which mainstream economics discourse is employed in arguments to undermine the proclaimed benefits of local food. We focus on several core concepts in economics—comparative advantage, scale, trade and efficiency—and show how they have been used to challenge claims about local food’s benefits in the (...)
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  • Taming the Unruly Side of Ethics: Overcoming Challenges of a Bottom-Up Approach to Ethics in the Areas of Food Policy and Climate Change. [REVIEW]Raymond Anthony - 2012 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 25 (6):813-841.
    Here, I investigate the challenges involved in addressing ethical questions related to food policy, food security, and climate change in a public engagement atmosphere where “experts” (e.g., scientists and scholars), policy-makers and laypersons interact. My focus is on the intersection between food and climate in the state of Alaska, located in the circumpolar north. The intersection of food security and climate represents a “wicked problem.” This wicked problem is plagued by “unruliness,” characterized by disruptive mechanisms that can impede how ethical (...)
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  • Freedom of Cropping and the Good Life: Political Philosophy and the Conflict Between the Organic Movement and the Biotech Industry Over Cross-Contamination.Dane Scott - 2015 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 28 (5):837-852.
    This paper begins by describing recent controversies over cross-contamination of crops in the United States and European Union. The EU and US are both applying the principle of freedom of cropping to resolve these conflicts, which is based on an individualistic philosophy. However, despite the EU and the US starting with the principle of freedom of cropping they have very dissimilar regulatory regimes for coexistence. These contradictory policies based upon the same principle are creating different sets of winners and losers. (...)
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  • Transitions to Sustainability: A Change in Thinking About Food Systems Change?C. Clare Hinrichs - 2014 - Agriculture and Human Values 31 (1):143-155.
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