ERIC Number: ED282064
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1986
Reference Count: 0
Teaching Agricultural Ethics in the Agricultural Economics Curriculum. Faculty Paper Series 86-5.
Thompson, Paul B.
The undergraduate course in agricultural ethics has been under development at Texas A&M University for four years. The course that has evolved is the result of discussion between the philosophy and agriculture departments. The course attempts to incorporate basic economic principles that affect agriculture as well as to tie these principles to various philosophical approaches. Basic writing and thinking skills also must be taught to some of the students. Four groups of students usually take the course: agricultural economics majors, agronomy majors, other agriculture majors, and liberal arts students. The course is an elective and students are usually registered voluntarily. The course starts with a reading of John Steinbeck's "The Grapes of Wrath" as a lead-in to discussion of structural changes in agriculture from the family farm to large commercial farming and of the use and misuses of land. Other readings in both economics and philosophy are required. Classes are conducted by the Socratic discussion method, and the teacher attempts to respect all students' points of view, while challenging superficial answers. Students are required to keep journals, answer short essay questions, and write a paper analyzing an additional reading. Although the course does not reach the original goals of high-level philosophical discussion, it does provide an introductory philosophical discussion and served a neglected area in the agriculture curriculum. (KC)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Texas A and M Univ., College Station. Dept. of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology.