Agriculture and Human Values

, Volume 32, Issue 1, pp 77–85 | Cite as

Agricultural ethics: then and now

Article

Abstract

This paper was written to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the University of Nottingham’s Easter School on “Issues in Agricultural Bioethics,” organized by Ben Mepham in 1993. At that time, agricultural ethics was being envisioned as an interdisciplinary sub-discipline comparable to that of medical ethics. Agricultural ethicists would co-operate with other agricultural faculty to produce careful articulation, analysis and critique (or defense) of norms and values being implicitly assumed by agricultural researchers, practitioners and policy makers. Roughly two factors have conspired to substantially limit the realization of that vision in the intervening 20 years. First, the institutional environment within agricultural universities was far less conducive to such an activity than medical schools. Second, while the rise of a food-oriented social movement might have provided new opportunities for food ethics, the social movement orientation has actually constrained the kind of philosophical work typically undertaken by bioethicists. The paper ends with a brief note calling for a renewal of the original vision.

Keywords

History of agricultural ethics Food ethics Agricultural research Agricultural education 

References

  1. Aiken, W., and H. LaFollette (eds.). 1977. World hunger and moral obligation. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  2. Beauchamp, T.L., and J.F. Childress. 2009. Principles of biomedical ethics, 7th ed. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Brown, P., and H. Shue (eds.). 1977. Food policy: The responsibility of the United States in the life and death choices. New York: The Free Press.Google Scholar
  4. Burkhardt, J. 2000. Coming full circle? Agrarian Ideals and pragmatist ethics in the modern land-grant university. In The agrarian roots of pragmatism, ed. P.B. Thompson and T.C. Hilde, 279–303. Nashville, TN: Vanderbilt University Press. Google Scholar
  5. Hanson, V.D. 1995. The other Greeks: The family farm and the Agrarian roots of Western Civilization. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  6. Harrison, R. 1964. Animal machines: The new factory farming industry. London, UK: V. Stuart.Google Scholar
  7. Haynes, R., and R. Lanier. n.d. Agriculture, change and human values: Proceedings of a multidisciplinary conference, October 18–21, 1982. Gainesville, FL: University of Florida.Google Scholar
  8. Holt, D. 1997. Practical ethics in agronomic research. Advances in Agronomy 60: 149–190.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Jonas, H. 1984. The imperative of responsibility: In search of an ethics for the technological age. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  10. Johnson, G.L. 1976. Philosophic foundations: Problems, knowledge, solutions. European Journal of Agricultural Economics 3(2–3): 207–234.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Johnson, G.L. 1982. Agro-ethics: Extension, research and teaching. Southern Journal of Agricultural Economics 14(July): 1–10.Google Scholar
  12. Johnson, G.L. 1990. Ethical dilemmas posed by recent and prospective developments with respect to agricultural research. Agriculture and Human Values 7(3–4): 23–35.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Kaiser, M., and E.M. Forsberg. 2001. Assessing fisheries—Using an ethical matrix in a participatory process. Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 14(2): 191–200.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Kaiser, M., K. Millar, E. Thorstensen, and S. Tomkins. 2007. Developing the ethical matrix as a decision support framework: GM fish as a case study. Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 20(1): 65–80.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Kronenberg, L. 2009. Allegories of farming from Greece and Rome: Philosophical Satire in Xenophon, Varro, and Virgil. New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Lex, M. 1995. Public acceptability of agricultural biotechnology. In Issues in agricultural bioethics, ed. T.B. Mepham, G.A. Tucker, and J. Wiseman, 387–401. Nottingham: Nottingham University Press.Google Scholar
  17. McPherson, C.B. 1962. The political theory of possessive individualism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  18. Mepham, T.B. 1995. Bioethical issues in the marketing of infant foods. In Issues in agricultural bioethics, ed. T.B. Mepham, G.A. Tucker, and J. Wiseman, 73–89. Nottingham: Nottingham University Press.Google Scholar
  19. Mepham, T.B. 2000. A framework for the ethical analysis of novel foods: The ethical matrix. Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 12(2): 165–176.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Mepham, T.B. 2005. Food ethics. In Ethics, law and society, ed. V.J. Gunning, and S. Holm, 141–152. Hants: Ashgate Publishing.Google Scholar
  21. Mepham, T.B. 2010. The ethical matrix as a tool in policy interventions: The obesity crisis. In Food ethics, ed. F.-T. Gottwald, H.W. Ingensiep, and M. Meinhardt, 17–29. New York: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Mepham, T.B., G.A. Tucker, and J. Wiseman (eds.). 1995. Issues in agricultural bioethics. Nottingham: Nottingham University Press.Google Scholar
  23. Mepham, T.B., M. Kaiser, E. Thorstensen, S, Tomkins, and K. Millar. 2006. Ethical matrix manual. LEI, The Hague. http://estframe.net/ethical_bio_ta_tools_project/content_2/text_2c81d261-b7a8-43e8-8f1e-d724b43e2ba3/1346076649086/et2_manual_em_binnenwerk_45p.pdf. Accessed 12 Mar 2014.
  24. Potter, V.R. 1970. Bioethics: science of survival. Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 14: 127–153.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Prosser, C.G., C. Royle, I.R. Fleet, and T.B. Mepham. 1991. The galactopoietic effect of bovine growth hormone in goats is associated with increased concentrations of insulin-like growth factor—I in milk and mammary tissue. Journal of Endocrinology 128: 457–463.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Schroeder, D., and C. Palmer. 2003. Technology assessment and the ‘ethical matrix’. Poiesis and Praxis 1: 295–307.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Singer, P. 1972. Famine, affluence, and morality. Philosophy and Public Affairs 1: 229–243.Google Scholar
  28. Thompson, P.B. 1988. Ethical issues in agriculture: The need for recognition and reconciliation. Agriculture and Human Values 5(4): 4–15.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Thompson, P.B. 2007. Food biotechnology in ethical perspective, 2nd ed. Dordrecht: Springer.Google Scholar
  30. Thompson, P.B., and D.M. Kaplan. 2014. The Encyclopedia of food and agricultural ethics. Dordrecht: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Zimdahl, R.L. 1998. Ethics in weed science. Weed Science 46(6): 636–639.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyMichigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA

Personalised recommendations