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date: 20 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Food production can be viewed as one among many activities that produce goods in modern industrial societies, with ethical issues analogous to those of other sectors of the economy. Contrarily, agriculture and farming have historically been thought to have unique influence on the nature of social institutions, the reinforcement of moral virtues, and the reproduction of cultural forms. Mainstream approaches in consequentialist and deontological ethics implicitly adopt the first perspective: the industrial philosophy of agriculture. The chapter summarizes alternative agrarian viewpoints, emphasizing the role of the household farm in the thought of Aristotle and Xenophon, as well as the special role accorded to agriculture in early modern debates on property and political economy. It concludes with the emergence of contemporary agrarian philosophies that see farming and food systems as uniquely significant for environmental ethics and sustainability.

Keywords: agrarianism, virtue, Aristotle, Xenophon, political economy, environment, sustainability

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