The Spirit of the Soil: Agriculture and Environmental Ethics

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Psychology Press, 1995 - Business & Economics - 196 pages
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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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Contents

THE ENVIRONMENTAL CRITICS
15
THE PRODUCTIONIST PARADIGM
47
AGRICULTURAL STEWARDSHIP AND
72
CALCULATING THE TRUE COST OF FOOD
94
THE HOLISTIC ALTERNATIVE
118
SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE
147
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About the author (1995)

Paul B. Thompson is Director of the Center for Biotechnology Policy and Ethics and Professor of Philosophy and Agricultural Economics at Texas A&M University.

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