Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics

, Volume 25, Issue 4, pp 543-552

First online:

The Ethics of Food for Tomorrow: On the Viability of Agrarianism—How Far can it Go? Comments on Paul Thompson’s Agrarian Vision

  • Raymond AnthonyAffiliated withDepartment of Philosophy, University of Alaska Anchorage Email author 

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access


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 move closer in dismantling the barriers that inhibit the capacity for virtuous caretaking of the food system at various levels. Lastly, and more deeply, how successful might agrarianism be in inculcating citizenship values (ones that go beyond food ethics as a private affair), for the democratization of agricultural technologies? Might the Jeffersonian foundation to which the agrarianism (a la) Thompson appeals need something like a contemporary theory of justice in order to facilitate the reconstitution of our politico-moral selves? How can it help guide appropriate ruminations on the intra and intergenerational question, “What do we want the shape of our current and future social and political institutions to look like in relation to food?”


Food ethics Philosophy of technology Commodification Sustainability Agrarianism