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

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


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.



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