Ancient Philosophical thought in Ethical Hunting

Philosophic principles of ancient peoples that manifest in thought experiments and models can be applied to our current world and the concepts of ethical hunting and the food industry by extension. This philosophic thought is a part of ancient Greek history with the text Republic being written in 380 BC.

Plato was a famous Greek philosopher who was among the first to analyze many of the topics that nowadays we mention when discussing the issues of the environment and ethical hunting. These topics include justice, virtues, and ethics.

Statue of Ancient Athenian Philosopher Aristocles Plato. Source: By user ‘Jastrow’ [Public Domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

When reviewing the concept of justice, Plato created a model called referred to as the ‘Just City.’ This city was considered to be perfect in every way. The people of this city held all admirable virtues and lived in harmony. The ‘Just City’ was founded on the idea that the people of the city were made into three lifelong classes/jobs which created a balance of power and divided up tasks among many individuals (Plato 89). As great as this utopian city was meant to be, it had to be founded on a lie, this lie is known as the Noble Lie. This Noble Lie essentially is about how classes are selected for people and what maintains order between the different classes of people. The citizens of the just city all believe this noble lie in the city and are referred to as “victims of magic” (Plato 90).

This idea of a Noble Lie can be seen in society today in the United States Food Industry about everything we consume being killed and processed in sanitary and humane conditions without any better option for the environment. Individuals who listen to these claims by companies like Tyson and JBS are just modern day “victims of magic,” with an emphasis on the victim part. They are victims of a lie and need to at the very least understand they are being lied to, hopefully choosing to then take action.

Matrix Character Morpheus portrayed by Lawrence Fishburne offering the choice of the red pill or the blue pill. Source: By user ‘Andrew Sweeny’ [Public Domain], via A Medium Corporation [US].

This dilemma isn’t just ancient but modern as well. You can see it played out in the Matrix franchise, with the blue pill or the red pill. In this film by the Wachowski Brothers, the blue pill lets you live in a near perfect world unaware of a horrific truth, while the red lets you see the truth, no matter how troubling (The Matrix). Ethical hunters chose to take the red pill and make the best of a bad situation as they can just as characters in the Matrix do.

Not only do ethical hunters not chose to believe the “Noble Lies” told by the food industry that keep most as ignorant customers but they actively act in defiance of the soothsaying mega-corporations by avoiding their products and educating others on the lies being told, taking their own individual responsibility.


Works Cited:

Plato, Aristocles. Republic. Edited by C.D.C. Reeve. Translated by G.M.A. Grube, Hackett Publishing Company, INC., 1992.

Wachowski, Lana and Lily Wachowski, directors. The MatrixThe Matrix Trilogy, Warner Bros., 31 Mar. 1999.