Philosophy of Hunting


Philosophy of Hunting



What happens when a philosopher raised outside of a culture that promotes hunting takes up the sport? What philosophical lessons can he learn from the experience and how can he describe them in existential terms? Lawrence Cahoone asks these questions and more. Growing up in the urban and suburban Northeast, he had no experience of hunting. But in middle-age, after moving to a rural area, he decided that if he was going to eat meat he ought to find some himself. It seemed only fair. So, he began to hunt. But as a philosophy professor, he was forced to reflect on the experience in a very particular way. Was it moral to shoot animals? What does it feel like to seek and to kill? What was involved in entering the “wild on wild” business? Philosophers have debated whether hunting is a violation of animal rights, a friend to the environment, or a sport. But what Larry ended up asking was something more basic. In the end, he wanted to know: what does hunting mean?

To read Larry’s paper “Hunting as a Moral Good,” click here.

Lawrence Cahoone is an Associate Professor at Holy Cross College. He received his Ph.D. from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. He is the author and editor of multiple books, most recently Cultural Revolutions: Reason versus Culture in Contemporary Philosophy, Politics, and Jihad (Penn State, 2005).


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Publication Date



Institute for Philosophy in Public Life


Grand Forks, ND


Hunting--Religious aspects ; Hunting--Social aspects ; Environmental ethics ; Animal rights ; Philosophy and civilization


Animal Law | Natural Resources Management and Policy | Philosophy

Philosophy of Hunting