ABSTRACT

This chapter discusses Bryan Norton's work, followed by a synopsis that classifies the discourse according to two overlapping but nonetheless distinguishable philosophies of sustainability. The relevance of the sustainability discourses to food ethics not directly thematized but be obvious. The most widely known philosophical discussion of sustainability occurs in the writings of Bryan Norton, who uses the word sustainability as a name for his comprehensive environmental philosophy. Correlatively, the resilience paradigms emphasis on systems can function as a retreat from normativity, a quasi-positivist intellectual move that allows scientists and other systems analysts to probe the structure of key systems without bothering to articulate why they matter. By 1980, agricultural scientists were conducting a debate over sustainability that prefigured the larger contrast between the Brundtland and resilience paradigms. Advocates of efficiency-increasing chemical, mechanical, and biological technologies were citing Malthus and defining sustainable agriculture in terms of the technical feasibility of producing enough food to feed a growing global population.