Hunting, Fishing, and Environmental Virtue
Reconnecting Sportsmanship and Conservation
Publication Year: 2013
Published by: Oregon State University Press
Title Page, Copyright
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Acknowledgments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9Part One: Philosophy and Field Sports . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13Chapter One: The Sportsman Thesis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14The Historical Role of the Sportsman Thesis . . . . . . . . . . . . 14...
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Thanks first to my friend and fellow angler/philosopher John Spissinger, who challenged me to think about leisure and who read and commented on many versions of this book. Without his support and enthusiasm for Thanks also to my wife and colleague, Beth Dixon, for her careful For permission to use portions of articles I’ve published, thanks to ...
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Aldo Leopold once declared that North American hunters are puzzled. Seven decades later, I’d say that not much has changed. If anything, things have gotten worse. Hunting and angling have lost their ethical center. We seem incapable of rationally defending them against moral critics and, equally importantly, against pretended friends in commerce and politics. ...
Part One: Philosophy and Field Sports
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In this first part I discuss the history and philosophical background for the sportsman thesis. Classically, there was thought to be a close connection between skills and virtues, one that has received considerable attention recently. After a brief tour of the history of the sportsman thesis, I consider three ways in which the development of skills has been connected to the ...
Chapter One: The Sportsman Thesis
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The sportsman thesis, broadly speaking, holds that hunting and angling are instrumental in the development of character. It’s a thesis as old as ancient Greece and as new as the latest issue of Fly Rod & Reel. Its career is full of twists and turns, rejection and rediscovery. While I shall sample this history in order to establish the pedigree of the thesis, I am really ...
Chapter Two: From Beginner to Expert
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...philosophically and socially. The gap between practice and virtue and the various historical exclusions are not the only problems for the sportsman thesis. But, of immediate concern is bridging the gap between field sports and character development. To do so we’ll begin with the concept of It is difficult to see how a good character may be derived from doing field ...
Chapter Three: Choosing Character-Enriching Activities
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...both background knowledge and experience united by diagnosis and practice to solve problems skillfully. This is the way the best action is arrived at based on one’s diagnostic skills and one’s ability to carry out the planned action. To catch a trout I must diagnose where it is likely to be, what it is likely to eat, and have the skills necessary to put the ...
Part Two: Environmental Virtues and Field Sports
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The view I am proposing is one version of the sportsman thesis: that field sports when practiced properly will lead to the development of certain environmental virtues. These virtues, while seemingly lower in the pantheon than Platonic courage or Aristotelian sagacity, and even Roosevelt’s manliness, have great importance in environmental ethics....
Chapter Four: From Gentlemen to Conservationists
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The traditional sportsman thesis boldly asserts that certain virtues will arise from the practice of field sports. However, it leaves unexplained, among other things, the way this might actually happen. The sportsman thesis does posit a brief answer to the question of which good is served, namely, the good of being a gentleman. If we must give up the notion of ...
Chapter Five: The Biotic Good
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...directed toward a new good, one that will require significant sacrifices. What is the good of the biotic community and how might field sports be directed to bring about this good? In terms of virtues, which list is most appropriate for the good of the biotic community and how might it be enabled by field sports? In order to answer these questions, we will ...
Chapter Six: Environmental Virtues
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...virtues that might replace those first articulated in the sportsman thesis? The biotic good is the integrity, stability, and beauty of the community. Conservation practices must aim at this goal. These practices are not just field sports, but also include farming, logging, and ranching; in addition those professional practices of conservation found in state and ...
Part Three: Problems for the Sportsman Thesis
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There are several serious philosophical objections to the approach I have taken, which need to be addressed before the revised sportsman thesis is accepted. They will be the subject of Part Three. By answering these objections, I will develop a code for field sports, based upon the virtues already identified with alterations required to meet the objections. The ...
Chapter Seven: The Substitution Problem
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The substitution problem is one that must be solved if my argument in the past chapters is to remain viable. It challenges the very core of my view in that it accepts that hunting and angling might generate virtues, even the very ones I’ve articulated, but asks why one should pursue them in field sports when other non-lethal substitute activities ...
Chapter Eight: Sport Hunting and Fishing
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...informing one’s aesthetic competence habituated by field sports goes well beyond that had in wildlife photography. These differences have allowed us to define field sports in a way that includes acquiring animals but does not make killing the only purpose of field sports. Killing is a means in hunting for the acquisition of some goods. The acquisition of ...
Chapter Nine: A Code for Field Sports
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...sportsman thesis. There is first the possibility of substituting other non-lethal outdoor activities for hunting and angling with no net loss of virtue development. Gardening develops an ecological conscience, although in a more domestic setting than field sports, and wildlife photography certainly expands one’s environmental awareness. But the ...
Part Four: Implications for the Future of Field Sports
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Though I’ve outlined a modified code for field sports and answered some important objections, there are several remaining issues of sufficient importance to warrant specific attention. In this part, I cover the future of field sports and what sportsmen must do to maintain a publicly and ethically acceptable basis for their activities. The recommendations made ...
Chapter Ten: Field Sports and Civic Virtue
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As sportsmen develop environmental virtues with regard to conservation of the biotic good, they also become aware of threats to field sports. Threats presented by animal rights advocates are ethically based, often focusing on the potential cruelty of field sports. The view I present in the previous chapters is my answer to these critiques: if field sports are sources ...
Chapter Eleven: Money and Politics
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...civic activism of sportsmen. These values must be socially promoted and publicly embodied by participants in field sports if they are to retain their importance. A serious challenge to the civic virtues of sportsmen is found in consumerism and political interests and their influence on field So far, these public values are little more than promissory notes. ...
Chapter Twelve: Sportsman Education
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For the sportsman thesis to maintain its viability, those forces that tend to subvert it must be exposed and opposed. In particular, the sporting industry, with its focus on competitions and exotic destinations, gadgets and luxury, must be seen as undermining the core commitments of sportsmen. The political influence of special interests such as those ...
Chapter Thirteen: Attitudes about Game and Wildlife
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...and responsible butchering of animals offers another great opportunity to learn about ecological connections. It is important to remember that we needn’t be experts in ecology to teach these connections; our goal is to plant the seeds of biotic perception and environmental awareness. These are the intellectual virtues one attains by gaining knowledge of the ...
Chapter Fourteen: Conflicting Visions of Outdoor Recreation
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...utilitarian purposes, but sportsmen should at the minimum be on the alert for the pressure of institutions to modify them. Consuming the body of an animal is such a powerful connection to the biotic community that it Classifying game animals expands and contracts, given the swings in opinion as to their definition. I am urging that for the environmental ...
Chapter Fifteen: The Sportsman Myth
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...motorized sports enthusiasts to relate their activity to environmental concern, or increased awareness of natural processes. Field sports will do well in answering these questions if the participants have accepted the Outdoor activities other than field sports should be encouraged to emulate the model of the sportsman thesis. These activities are already the stimulus ...
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Page Count: 176
Publication Year: 2013