Volume 8, Issue 2, Fall/Winter 2001
Environmental Virtue Ethics
James A. Tantillo
Sport Hunting, Eudaimonia, and Tragic Wisdom
Anti-hunters frequently overlook or underestimate the positive values associated with reflective sport hunting. In this essay I characterize the value of hunting in the context of an Aristotelian virtue ethic. Sport hunting done for the purpose of recreation contributes heavily to the eudaimonia (flourishing) of hunters. I employ Aristotelian insights about tragedy to defend hunting as an activity especially well-suited for promoting a range of crucial intellectual and emotional virtues. Reflective sport hunters develop a “realistic awareness of death” and experience what may be called “tragic” pleasure, which yields the important intellectual virtue of tragic wisdom.