How should we farm? The ethical dimension of farming systems

  • Richard BawdenEmail author


If Farming Systems Research is to truly embrace sustainability as the overall context of its mission, then the inclusion of ethics (and especially systemic ethics) is an imperative. There are matters of responsibilities of producers to the ecological integrity of the land that they farm as well as to the manner by which they use resources. There are matters of equity and fairness and trustworthiness to the consumers of their products, and matters of the well-being of animals under their care. There are, furthermore, particular responsibilities that farming systems researchers have to the way that they conduct their scientific inquiries and develop and promote the types of technologies that they help to generate. These issues raise questions that call upon consideration of rights and wrongs, of means as well as ends, of good and evil, and of what it is to be virtuous. These are ethical questions about what ‘should be done’ with respect to the further development of farming systems that ought to condition the answers to questions about what ‘could be done’. This chapter will discuss the significance of the moral/ethical dimensions of agriculture and farming, as well as of agricultural sciences. It will show how the implementation of the principles of sustainability ethics ‘ought to’ shape Farming Systems Research.


Farming System Epistemological Belief Moral Consciousness Agricultural Sustainability Ethical Competency 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Health and ScienceUniversity of Western SydneySydneyAustralia

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