Beyond Stewardship: Reimagining Our Kinship With Animals

In David Paul Warners & Matthew Kuperus Heun (eds.), Beyond Stewardship: New Approaches to Creation Care. Grand Rapids, USA: Calvin College Press. pp. 121-134 (2019)
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This book chapter is a work of popular philosophy that offers general readers an opportunity to reimagine their relationship to non-human creatures by living vicariously through the experience of Jasmin--a hypothetical college student whose encounters with a cow, goat, and rooster on a visit to a local farm trigger a transformation in her views and actions toward other animals, allowing her to see them for the first time as subjects of their own lives rather than as objects for human use. Though the chapter is written from the perspective of Jasmin's own Christian religious heritage, her awakening to the importance of the lives of other animals and the practices she undertakes in order to live out that new vision resonate with other religious and non-religious traditions, implicitly engaging the traditions of philosophical hermeneutics (Hans-Georg Gadamer) and philosophy as a way of life through the practice of spiritual exercises (Pierre Hadot, Martha Nussbaum). This chapter would be appropriate for use in introduction to philosophy courses or first-year writing seminars that seek to offer students an invitational introduction to some of the big ideas in animal and environmental ethics without getting philosophically technical in ways that can alienate beginners.
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