Title

Agrarian Ideals and Practices: Comments on Paul B. Thompson's the Agrarian Vision

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2012

Keywords

Agrarianism, Agricultural ethics, Environmental ethics, Food ethics, Paul B. Thompson, Thomas Jefferson, Virtue theory

Abstract

In The Agrarian Vision, Thompson argues that a better appreciation of agrarian ideals could lead to a more virtuous, more sustainable way of life. While I agree with Thompson in many respects, there are some aspects of the book that I question and others that I would like to hear Thompson explicate in greater detail. In this paper, I question Thompson's claim that agrarian farmers and farming communities serve as ideal models of virtuous habits and good character. I challenge Thompson's use of virtue theory, particularly the notion that farming virtues can be acquired without participating in farming practices. In the end, I make the point that Thompson seems to vacillate between being realistic and being idealistic, which may seriously complicate our notions of responsibility and obligation in practice. © 2011 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

Issue

4

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