Do hunting and fishing lead to the development of environmental virtues? This question is at the heart of philosopher Charles List's engaging study, which provides a defense of field sports when they are practiced and understood in an ethical manner.
In his argument, List examines the connection between certain activities and the development of virtue in the classical sources, such as Aristotle and Plato. He then explores the work of Aldo Leopold, identifying three key environmental virtues that field sports instill in practitioners in the kind of conservation advocated by Leopold and others.
After reviewing several powerful philosophical objections to his viewpoint, List considers the future of environmental sportsmanship. He suggests that, in order to incorporate a revived connection between field sports and environmental virtue, the practice of hunting and angling must undergo changes, including shifts that would impact hunter education, civic engagement, the role of firearms, our understanding of "game" animals, and alliances with other sorts of outdoor recreation.
Hunting, Fishing, and Environmental Virtue will appeal to academics interested in the ethical issues surrounding hunting and fishing, professionals in wildlife management, and hunters and anglers interested in conservation.
A professor of philosophy at SUNY-Plattsburgh, Charles J. List grew up hunting pheasants and fishing for walleyes in Minnesota and Iowa. He is the author of numerous articles on the ethical issues surrounding hunting and fishing and teaches college courses on environmental ethics, outdoor ethics, fly fishing, and hunting ethics, as well as hunter education courses for New York State. He is past president and board member of his local Trout Unlimited chapter.