The Spirit of the Soil: Agriculture and Environmental Ethics
The Spirit of the Soil examines environmental problems in industrial agriculture and challenges environmentalists to think more deeply about the ethical dimensions of agriculture's impact on the environment. Professor Thompson considers environmental problems in industrial agriculture, such as the use of chemical pesticides and biotechnology, from an ethical perspective. He compares four 'world views' - productionism, stewardship, economics, and holism - which frame these issues and the potential response to them according to different philosophical priorities. All four are found to have their inadequacies.
Thompson concludes his analysis with an open-ended and necessarily incomplete formulation of sustainability as the key goal for recapturing the spirit of the soil. He provides discussion of works by Baird Callicott, Wendell Berry, Wes Jackson, and Alan Savory, and reviews the potential of conventional environmental ethics and resource economics.
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THE ENVIRONMENTAL CRITICS
THE PRODUCTIONIST PARADIGM
AGRICULTURAL STEWARDSHIP AND
CALCULATING THE TRUE COST OF FOOD
THE HOLISTIC ALTERNATIVE
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agrarian agri agricultural production agricultural research agricultural science agricultural stewardship allocative efficiency alternative analysis animal applied argue argument assumption Baird Callicott become Berry Berry's biotic Callicott chapter chemical choices concept consequences costs criteria critics of agriculture critique crops culture debate discussion ecological economic theory economists ecosystem emic environment environmental critics environmental ethicists environmental ethics environmental impact environmental philosophy environmental quality environmentalists evaluation farm farmers fertility goals Green Revolution hard systems herbicide holism human ice minus implied increase industrial agriculture input insects interest intrinsic Jackson land land grant universities Leopold litde moral nature nomic norms pesticide pests philosophical plant pollution positive economics practices predict preservation problem productionism productionist question reductionism risk ronmental Savory scientific self-interest sense Silent Spring social society soft systems soil species strategy sustainability sustainable agriculture systems model systems theory themes thermostat tion traditional universities unwanted utilitarian virtue Wendell Berry world view