Agricultural philosophy

Agricultural philosophy

Agricultural Philosophy is the love of, search after and wisdom associated with agriculture, as one of humankind's founding components of civilization. In everyday usage, it is the knowledge of phenomena and their causes and effects in and explained by agriculture. It also includes the general principles under which all facts relating to agriculture are understood, including ethics, metaphysics in traditional agricultural systems and the psychology of humans engaged in food production and sometimes, food consumption. Agricultural philosophy may also be called 'the science of agricultural science'.

Insofar as modern agriculture has developed technologically to a far greater extent than it has in more human terms, agricultural philosophy tends to lag behind some other philosophical pursuits and when considered it often included as a subset under environmental philosophy when in fact, it is viewed and treated quite differently. As the oldest and most wide-spread form of human intervention in nature, agriculture may be profitably examined as the practical representation of a society's environmental ethic, and thus be the principal setting for environmental philosophy, as argued in recent works on sustainable agriculture.

By providing the stability and differentiation of tasks within a society, agriculture was an underpinnig source of the philosophical, in the sense of seeking and loving wisdom, revolution that began about 10,000 years ago. Consequently, with the codification of wisdom practices and the later development of writing, the language used to describe higher mental states and processes was that of agriculture - hence one 'cultivates' wisdom, the product of which is the 'fruits' of the spirit, and so on. The language is common to all religions and pervades modern language from this source. The link between religion and agriculture is thus an enduring and enlightening one that is studied under the rubric of agricultural philosophy.


*Lindsay Falvey (2005) Religion and Agriculture: Sustainability in Christianity and Buddhism. c.350pp. Institute for International Development, Adelaide and Silkworm Books, Chiang Mai.

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