Living-With Wisdom explores the way in which ancient Greek models of philosophy as an attempt to live ‘the good life’ can and should be realised through the practice of permaculture. Following the thought of Plato and Aristotle, the author places the achievement of wisdom and fulfilment at the centre of the good life, identifying these with the achievement of a complex admixture of virtues, which are dependent on an appreciation of goodness itself.
The book then examines the manner in which permaculture – or the practice of sustainable farming or ethical gardening – can provide us with the best opportunity to acquire this ‘moral knowledge’ through the close relationships we can have with other living beings and things. A study of the nature of wisdom and a means of ‘living-with philosophy’, Living-With Wisdom: Permaculture and Symbiotic Ethics reveals that it is by appreciating and sharing in the lives of other organisms that we engage with many dilemmas of life and death and have the opportunity to exercise the virtues.
As such, it will appeal to scholars of philosophy, social theory and anthrozoology with interests in virtue ethics, environmental ethics, animal ethics and human-animal relations.
Table of Contents
1. Moral knowledge (‘wisdom’) as the purpose of philosophy and life
PART I: Philosophy
2. Plato and Aristotle on the nature of wisdom
3. Moderate realism as the epistemic and metaethical basis of wisdom
4. An amalgamation of philosophy and anthropology as the best method for gaining wisdom
5. The necessity of aesthetics and evaluation, and the pre-eminence of narrative in ‘living-with’
PART II: Life
6. Purposiveness amongst living things as a focus of wisdom and the usefulness of fringe cases for acquiring wisdom
7. The inevitability of doing harm, the importance of feeling bad and the central role of honesty and courage
8. An effort to outline an attitude of steady attention, poignancy and good humour in the face of death, as constitutive of wisdom
Alexander Badman-King is an associate lecturer in the Department of Sociology, Philosophy and Anthropology at the University of Exeter, UK, where he is also a member of the Exeter Anthrozoology as Symbiotic Ethics working group.