A philosopher I am not.
Not in the academic sense, at least. My formal education in the subject consists of a single undergraduate class—“Reason and Argument”—which left me impressed by the contortions through which the human animal is willing to put its gray matter.
So, some fifteen months ago, when I saw a “call for abstracts” for a new anthology of philosophical essays on hunting, I had reason to doubt my suitability as a contributor. The editor welcomed abstracts from philosophy, of course, and also from a number of other disciplines—such as anthropology, political theory, and theology—in which I was equally unqualified.
Yet there was this one little phrase. They also welcomed abstracts from “thoughtful hunters.”
After a few helpful email exchanges with the editor, Nathan Kowalsky of the University of Alberta, I said, “What the heck. Why not?” and shot from the hip, firing off a 250-word description of the 4,500-word essay I would write if he and his colleagues wanted me to.
A month later, I got word that they did.
Hello. Time to step up to the plate and deliver “Hunting Like a Vegetarian: Same Ethics, Different Flavors.”
My complimentary copy hasn’t arrived yet, so I can’t give you a review.
What I can do is tell you that the mix of voices is remarkable. In addition to contributions from a fascinating group of folks who, unlike me, are trained in philosophy (including environmentalist and vegan Lisa Kretz and weapons fanatic Jesús Ilundáin-Agurruza), there are essays, for example, by Canadian zoologist Valerius Geist, Algonquin hunter Jacob Wawatie, and historian and bird-trap builder Paula Young Lee.
I can also point you to the partial preview available on Google Books.
And I can point you to the first review of the book (review copies go out early), posted on Sustainablog by Justin Van Kleeck who, appropriately enough to my way of thinking, is vegan.
Enjoy! And I promise: my next post will not be about books, present or future.
Note: If you end up with a copy of the book in hand, and decide to read my essay, two small caveats. First, it is a smidge drier than my average blog post. Second, no sooner had the editing been finalized than I learned that some of the greenhouse gas figures given in the U.N. report Livestock’s Long Shadow, which I reference early in the essay, had been discredited. Ah well, it’s the spirit of the thing that counts.