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Summer The Other in A Sand County Almanac: Aldo Leopold's Animals and His Wild-Animal Ethic J. Baird Callicott, Jonathan Parker, Jordan Batson. A Sand County Almanac | 𝗥𝗲𝗾𝘂𝗲𝘀𝘁 𝗣𝗗𝗙 on ResearchGate | On Feb 4, , J . Baird Callicott and others published A Sand County Almanac. PDF | CURT MEINE is a research associate with the International Crane Foundation. Curt received a B.A. in English and History from DePaul.


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A Sand County almanac, and sketches here and there. 1. Natural history-Outdoor books. 2. Nature conservation-United States. 3. Natural history-Out door books. Sand County Almanac, that Leopold is best known by millions of people around the The Almanac reflects an evolution of a lifetime of love, observation, and. A Discussion Guide for. A Sand County. Almanac. With Text from: Foreword In the last essay in A Sand County Almanac, Aldo Leopold made the case for [the.

Fitz Roy, R. Check nearby libraries with: Primates have a high EQ. Keith Brown. In fact, to anyone for whom wild things are something more than a pleasant diversion, it con- stitutes one of the milestones in moral evolution. Following the killing of the Wolf and seeing the dying lame in her eyes, Leopold was born again, no longer the same person as before.

As I myself, so also is every other necessary for the existence of the world—the very same world that is for me real and objective. I cannot think away any other without giving up this world. No determinate other subject and, by implication, no indeterminate other, anticipated in the open horizon-sense, is to be thought away. The Horizons of Transcendental Phenomenology Bloomington: Indiana University Press, , p.

While in no sense located in that tradition, Leopold is aligned with it in portraying humans as having no monopoly on inten- tional consciousness. Many animal Others are intentional subjects as well; they too enjoy intentional consciousness, no less than we. He is very much present as perceiver, experiencing animal Others as objects, yes, but he also acknowledges them as perceiving, experiencing subjects in their own right. This deceptively simple narrative situates Leopold and us, his readers, as one kind of being among many Others, whose minds may still not be known—indeed, they may not be knowable—but who, nevertheless, co-constitute the world.

As we see, Leopold unapologetically personiies and anthropomorphizes the Other members of his biotic community. Is that consistent with the descriptive evolutionary-ecological world view that, according to Peter Fritzell, he is trying to convey? How could geese possibly be aware of the Wisconsin statutes?! Springer, , pp. One is apt to impute a disconsolate tone to their honkings and to jump to the conclusion that they are broken-hearted widowers, or mothers hunting lost children.

From the point of view of the prevailing now as then, we fear positivistic scientism, one cannot. Leopold, however, does not claim to know, but only to impute, imagine, and fancy.

Phenom- enologists concur. Of course, one cannot, however, directly observe the consciousness of an animal Other. But neither can one directly observe the consciousness of another human 32 Ibid.

A Sand County almanac

At the Limits of Experience Dordrecht: Springer, Yet we are—ornithologists and laypersons alike—perfectly conident that we correctly impute to other human beings both thoughts and feel- ings. On what grounds is such conidence based?

So, how can we convince our positivistic-scientistic selves the ornithologists that therefore we are , at least of this: In short, on the basis of analogy, Other people look, more or less, like we look.

To the extent that animals look like us many have four appendages, noses, eyes, ears, mouths and act like us many startle, lee, play, stalk, sigh, yawn, whimper, socialize , by way of a similar analogy we may just as legitimately conclude that they think and feel, more or less, like we think and feel. So, as it turns out, the determination to believe that animals are unconscious automata is a legacy of pre-Darwinian as well as pre- phenomenological metaphysics.

Animals are not only different from humans, they are different from one another, a difference to which philosophers especially have been insensitive. In The Animal that Therefore I Am, which was left uninished at his death and published posthumously, Derrida observes that what all nonhuman animals do have in common—which obscures, especially for philosophers, the myriad differences among them—is that they are Other than human.

In his book on the animal Other, Derrida reaches deeply into the roots of the Western world view—both Hebrew and Greek, ancient and modern—for clues to the systematic devaluation and domination of animals in the culture shaped by that world view. For us, the states of mind of skunks and mice may be more reliably imagined than the emotions of geese—because mice and skunks are mammals, as are we, while geese are not.

What do frogs feel and ish think? Leopold thus counters a cultural prejudice regarding animals originating with biblical exclusionism and reinforced by Cartesian-Newtonian scientism. Up there you could not see the mountain, but you could feel it. The reason was the big bear. The implicit bear literally animated the mountain. Nor was Leopold alone in sensing the presence of the perceptually absent bear. Everyone in that region at that time even the most hard-bitten cowboys had the same heightened experience as Leopold, though doubtless few were consciously aware of it or relected on it.

The pigeon of the title is the extinct passenger pigeon, in commemoration of which a monument had been erected in Wyalusing State Park by the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology. We know now what was unknown to the preceding caravan of generations: This new knowledge should have given us, by this time, a sense of kinship with fellow-creatures; a wish to live and let live; a sense of wonder over the magnitude and duration of the biotic enterprise.

Above all we should, in the century since Darwin, have come to know that man, while now captain of the adventuring ship, is hardly the sole object of its quest, and that his prior assumptions to this effect arose from the simple necessity of whistling in the dark. These things, I say, should have come to us. I fear they have not come to many.

Like the bear on Escudilla, wolves animated the landscape of the Southwest. It tingles the spine of all who hear wolves at night, or scan their tracks by day. Even out of sight or sound of wolf, it is implicit in a hundred small events: Only the ineducable tyro can fail to sense the presence or absence of wolves. The Howl of the Implicit. I realized then, and have known ever since, that there was something new to me in those eyes— something known only to her and to the mountain.

But seeing the green ire die, I sensed that neither the wolf nor the mountain would agree with such a view. After the experience that it describes, there followed a personal transformation, a conversion, as it were, from one state of being to another. Leopold left the church of anthropocentric, utilitarian resource conservation, which he had joined at Yale.

He eventually went on to found the new nonanthropocentric, deontological church of evolutionary-ecological ethics. Saul of Tarsus became Paul the Apostle. Following the killing of the Wolf and seeing the dying lame in her eyes, Leopold was born again, no longer the same person as before. Or so this narrative is crafted to suggest.

University of Minnesota Press, , pp. They play the role of the new Genesis in this new holy writ. Yet Homo sapiens is spectacularly different from all other animal species in that very capacity which has so fascinated continental philosophers: We are thinking animals; if not uniquely thinking animals, then certainly, among all animals, we specialize and excel in thinking.

In The Descent of Man, Darwin himself speculated on the evolution of human intelligence, among other signal, and closely associated, human capacities—such as language and ethics. In his book, Thinking Animals: Animals and the Development of Human Intelligence Athens: University of Georgia Press, There, going beyond Leopold, he explores the way intersubjective interaction with animal Others not only changes our understanding of what it means to be human, intersubjective interaction with animal Others is indeed what made Homo sapiens human.

Ironically, according to Shepard, it was the human relationship to animals that created a metaphysical lacuna between humans and animals—if indeed there is such a lacuna. While Shepard is certainly working in the tradition pioneered by Darwin in De- scent, is he also consciously extending the insights of Leopold in A Sand County Almanac? Rather the theory of evolution, for both Leopold and Shepard, represents a new Genesis, a mythic alternative to the bibli- cal account of creation, with powerful religious overtones.

Leopold and Shepard both appreciate what few others have: In his anecdote-illed swansong, The Others: Evolutionary thinking gives me relat- edness, continuity with the past, common ground with other life, a kind of celebration of diversity. Yes, there is. That would be Rudolph Bennitt, a quail man, who was a family friend of the Shepards; and the place of study would be the University of Missouri. By the time I left Columbia, Missouri, in the summer of , Leopold was dead and we had all seen his new book, A Sand County Almanac, published posthumously.

Those three years and that book framed the question that has dogged me ever since. Island Press, , pp. Shepard graduated from the University of Missouri in , with a double major in English literature and wildlife conservation. He completed his Ph.

Evelyn Hutchinson. Just how does Shepard think that animals made us human? Concepts are the currency of human thought.

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Concepts are mental pigeonholes by means of which we sort, identify, organize, and connect sensorially experienced objects. We now think by means of a congeries of incredibly rich, complex, and multifaceted con- ceptual schemata, which include such domains as types of popular music blues, rock, punk, funk, metal, disco, rap, hip-hop, emo , literary genres novels, novel- las, short stories, memoir, biography, autobiography, nature writing, poetry , fur- niture tables, chairs, couches, love seats, armoires, chests-of-drawers , elements hydrogen, helium, nitrogen, oxygen, uranium , and so on and so on.

Animals do not come in a continuum—wolf, wolf-wolf-cougar, wolf-cougar, cougar-cougar-wolf, cougar. Any given animal its neatly and unambiguously into a single mental pigeonhole, a single conceptual category—although, of course, there is the phenomenon of hybridization among different species of the same genus. Except in the case of hybrids, an animal is either a wolf, a cougar, or something else quite deinite—a coyote, a bobcat, or whatever. The original pattern for all subsequent human think- ing, according to Shepard, is thinking animals.

Why then is Homo sapiens the thinking animal par excellence? That is, why are we the only hyper-thinking species? A cornerstone evolutionary assumption of The Descent of Man, no less than of The Origin of Species, is natura non facit saltus. Nature does not make jumps; there are no leaps in evolutionary development.

Most evolutionary anthropologies, after Darwin, cleave to the same assumptions: The quintessentially thinking animal could have evolved, according to Shepard, only as an omnivorous primate.

Why a primate? For several reasons. Brain size and a high brain-to-body ratio— called the encephalization quotient EQ —is one. Primates have a high EQ. For another, primates are intensely social and sociability implies self-awareness and constant re-assessment of the social status of oneself.

High-end thinking involves a rich interiority, an introspective and relec- tive consciousness. And why an omnivore? Because an omnivore combines the kinds of consciousness typical of both predator and prey. Predators attend to other species, to the point of ixation, but seem not to be self-relective. Prey are more self-aware and diffusely alert.

Human thinking, according to Shepard, evolved in a self-aware social animal that had the brain capacity required for thinking many and big thoughts and an orientation of attention to other species—the taxonomic order of which provided the exemplar for all subsequent conceptual schemata.

A necessary condition for the evolution of human thinking is the evolution of language. Or, perhaps more precisely, language is the objective correlative of thought. Words, according to Shepard, call stereotypical images of absent things to mind. In The Others as in Thinking Animals, Shepard pays homage to the minds of the large animals that shared the ecological theater—the African savannah—on which the drama of hu- man evolution was staged.

The circumstances in which a series of large carnivores and herbivores became more thoughtful, by watching, pursuing, evading, stalking, hiding, mimicking, and otherwise seeking to comprehend and anticipate each other, set the stage and the terms of our presence, as though we had won a role in a play that had been running for years.

The four-legged carnivores and their prey had long since learned that an animal, watched long enough, gradually dissolved into signs. It left the marks that came to represent it: But he seems to agree with Heidegger on one key point.

A Sand County almanac ( edition) | Open Library

Our human specialty was to dislodge those signs from a momentary stuckness in place and time and build a mental world of them that could be played over at times of our choosing. Loving animals implied killing them; but more to the point, killing them should imply loving them. How is that possible? It is partly a matter of an accident of American history. Although our current national and global narrative of a downward spiraling environmental decline makes it hard to imagine, at the turn of the twentieth century there were fewer wild ani- mals in the lower forty-eight states than there were at the turn of the twenty-irst.

World, Finitude, Solitude, trans. Ayer Publishing, The passenger pigeon had been hunted to outright extinction.

The remaining bison numbered only in the hundreds. Seeing a deer in New England was so noteworthy as to be the subject of a newspaper article. It was wealthy, aristocratic, politically well-connected sport hunters—the most prominent of which was Theodore Roosevelt, both twenty-sixth President of the United States and a founder of the Boon and Crockett Club—who championed wildlife conservation.

They even negotiated treaties with Mexico and Canada to protect migratory waterfowl from indiscriminate hunting. If, however, we were to pick a single thing that was the common denominator of all the other things he was, we would say that, above all or beneath all , he was a conservationist. For Leopold, whose formative years and irst job came during the Theodore Roosevelt administration, to be a conservationist and to be a sport hunter were to be practically the same thing. Like most aspiring hunters, I was given, at an early age, a single-barreled shotgun and permission to hunt rabbits.

When my father gave me the shotgun, he said I might hunt partridges with it, but that I might not shoot them from trees. I was old enough, he said, to learn wing shooting. My dog was good at treeing partridge, and to forego a sure shot in the tree in favor of a hopeless one at the leeing bird was my irst exercise in ethical codes.

Compared with a treed partridge, the devil and his seven kingdoms was a mild temptation. Wellock, Preserving the Nation: Harlan Davidson, Michael Scott, Dale D. Goble, and Frank W. Island Press, , chap. Our tools for the pursuit of wildlife im- prove faster than we do, and sportsmanship is a voluntary limitation in the use of these armaments.

Pdf county a sand almanac

A peculiar virtue in wildlife ethics is that the hunter ordinarily has no gallery to applaud or disapprove of his conduct. Whatever his acts, they are dictated by his own conscience, rather than a mob of onlookers.

It is dificult to exag- gerate the importance of this fact. Voluntary adherence to an ethical code elevates the self-respect of the sportsman, but it should not be forgotten that voluntary disregard of the code degenerates and depraves him.

Indeed, sport hunting is seen by some as even more damnable than market or subsistence hunting, precisely because it is unnecessary. An Ecofeminist Perspective Lanham, Md.: Rowman and Little- ied, But Leopold never expresses regret or remorse for killing that duck or any of the thousands of other animal Oth- ers he killed over the course of his venatic career.

He has, however, nothing but contempt for the hunter who never matures: The disquieting thing in the modern picture is the trophy-hunter who never grows up, in whom the capacity for isolation, perception, and husbandry is undeveloped, or perhaps lost.

He is the motorized ant who swarms the continent before learning to see his own back yard, who consumes but never creates outdoor satisfactions. It was simply not a question that dogged Leopold. Indeed, it seems that such a question never even dawned on Leopold—but not because he was inattentive to ethical quandaries. His penchant for casting environmental ethics in strictly holistic terms comes across as clearly in his not , pace Shepard textbook as in his philosophical masterpiece from With the Rooseveltian era, however, came the Crusader for conservation, a new kind of naturalist who refused to stomach this anomaly.

He insisted that our conquest of nature carried with it a moral responsibility for the perpetuation of the threatened forms of wild life. This avowal was a forward step of inestimable importance. In fact, to anyone for whom wild things are something more than a pleasant diversion, it con- stitutes one of the milestones in moral evolution.

Ortega died in , seven years after Leopold. It was inally translated into English as Meditations on Hunting and published by Scribner in —a long thirty years after it was writ- ten. It is, therefore, very unlikely that Leopold ever heard of it and less likely still that he ever read it.

Ortega sets an existential tone—indeed a Sartrean existential tone—for his medi- tation on hunting in the opening paragraph: But—and this is the problem—life is brief and urgent;.

Thus the essence of each life lies in its occupations. He considers sport hunting to be superior to utilitar- ian hunting—and, at bottom, for the same reason that Leopold did: Ortega is profoundly sensitive to the importance of this question. The hunter is a death dealer. Was it all only for this, we ask. Scribner, , p. It is, in part, 1 anthropocentric and existential; but it is also, in part, 2 nonanthropocentric, both a individualistically and b holistically. Ortega had a low opinion of the state-of-the-art of ethics in twentieth-century philosophy: As humankind evolves and human technolo- gies proliferate the existential burden of choice grows heavier—because the range of choice of an essence, in the form of an occupation, ever increases.

Sport hunting affords one a respite from this existential burden: It is organized by its focus on the quarry; and it is organized in two ways.

First, the hunter must perceive the surroundings as the game perceives the surroundings: Second, the surroundings become runes to be read by the hunter—a tree freshly scarred by a roebuck rubbing his antlers, scat here, tracks there.

Sensory experience is heightened by the need to deploy the senses keenly—to catch a leeting scent of the game, to hear it rustle the leaf litter in a thicket, to catch a glimpse of it. The hunter knows that he does not know what is going to happen, and this is one of the greatest attractions of his occupation. Thus he needs to prepare an attention of a different and superior style—an attention which does not consist in riveting itself on the presumed but consists precisely in not presuming anything and in avoiding inat- tentiveness.

There is a magniicent term for this, one that still conserves all its zest of vivacity and imminence. The hunter is the alert man. Ortega thinks not: And this in turn can be achieved only by placing himself in relation to another animal. But there is no animal, pure animal other than the wild one, and the relationship with him is the hunt.

But, a further subquestion: Except for being on one or the other side of the hunt—predator or prey—wild animals pretty much ignore one another. Before any particular hunter pursues them they feel themselves to be possible prey, and they model their whole existence in terms of this condition.

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Thus they automatically convert any normal man who comes upon them into a hunter. All the instincts and alertness of the authentic, pre-human that is, pre-existential animal would seem to be engaged by camera hunting and the prey- essence of the animal Other is apparently greeted with an authentic response—but the life of the animal Other is spared, to say nothing of the suffering it might be caused to endure before it dies.

Ortega begs to differ. As noted, only for the human being does existence precede essence; for every Other animal, essence precedes existence. Thus, contrary to the utilitarian hunter, 81 Ibid. What interests him is everything he had to do to achieve that death—that is, the hunt. Therefore what was before only a means to an end is now an end in itself. Death is essential because without it, there is no authentic hunting: Edition Notes "1st Ballantine Books ed.

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