Do recipes and their instances, i.e. dishes, have any representational power? This is vexed question in the philosophy of food. In this paper, I take a fresh look on the issue by means of a theory of recipes. I argue that once a certain conception of recipes is in place, complemented by a certain conception of traditions, it becomes plausible that certain recipes, traditional ones, and their instances, traditional dishes, can be said to represent past living conditions. Hence, at some (...) some food items experiences could be said to genuinely possess a representational dimension. (shrink)
Liberal democracies across the world have responded to the COVID-19 pandemic by implementing measures that significantly curtail the rights and liberties of individual citizens. These measures must receive public justification in order to be politically legitimate. By combining analytical political philosophy with ontology in an original way, in this article we argue that liberal democratic governments have so far failed to adequately justify these measures, since they have not systematically targeted the scholarly study of COVID-19 in everyday environments, consequently implementing (...) rules that are epistemically unsound and not publicly justified, at least not fully. (shrink)
Our aim in this paper is to employ conceptual negotiation to inform a method of rethinking defective food concepts, that is concepts that fail to suitably represent a certain food-related domain or that offer representations that run counter to the interests of their users. We begin by sorting out four dimensions of a food concept: the data upon which it rests and the methodology by which those data are gathered; the ontology that sustains it; the social acts that serve to (...) negotiate and establish the concept; and the aims and values that it fosters. We then discuss the conditions that make a food concept defective, pointing out four types of defects—fragility, polarization, incoherence, and schizophrenia—which we illustrate by means of two specific examples: local food and healthy food. (shrink)
This book develops an integrated perspective on the practices and politics of making knowledge work in inclusive development and innovation. While debates about development and innovation commonly appeal to the authority of academic researchers, many current approaches emphasize the plurality of actors with relevant expertise for addressing livelihood challenges. Adopting an action-oriented and reflexive approach, this volume explores the variety of ways in which knowledge works, paying particular attention to dilemmas and controversies. The six parts of the book address the (...) complex interplay of knowledge and politics, starting with the need for knowledge integration in the first part and decolonial perspectives on the politics of knowledge integration in the second part. The following three parts focus on the practices of inclusive development and innovation through three major themes of transformative learning, evidence, and digitization. The final part of the book addresses the governance of knowledge and innovation in the light of political struggles about inclusivity. Exploring conceptual and practical themes through case studies from the Global North and South, this book will be of great interest to students, scholars and practitioners researching and working in development studies, epistemology, innovation studies, science and technology studies and sustainability studies more broadly. (shrink)
In this paper we discuss the role that individual and collective acts of interpretation play in shaping a metaphysics of food. Our analysis moves from David Kaplan’s recent contention that food is always open to interpretation, and substantially expands its theoretical underpinnings by drawing on recent scholarship on food and social ontology. After setting up the terms of the discussion (§1), we suggest (§2) that the contention can be read subjectively or structurally, and that the latter can be given three (...) sub-readings. We then lay out (§3) three case studies that, we submit, any viable theory of a metaphysics of food should be able to account for. We show that one structural reading—based on the idea of negotiation—swiftly accommodates for the three case studies. We thus conclude that this reading is most promising for charting a metaphysics of food. (shrink)
You are sitting in Chez Panisse, Alice Waters’ acclaimed restaurant in Berkeley, California. After an extensively prepared, multi-course meal, out comes the dessert course: an unmodified but perfectly juicy, fresh peach. Many chefs serve such unmodified or barely-modified foods with the intention that they count as culinary art. This paper takes up the question of whether unmodified foods, served in the relevant institutional settings, can count as culinary art. I propose that there is a distinctive form of aesthetic trust involved (...) in formal culinary settings, and it plays a central role in many instances of culinary art. Culinary institutions summon aesthetic trust, which helps to explain why a dish of unmodified food served in an appropriate institutional setting can count as culinary art. (shrink)
In this paper we suggest that discussions about the identity of recipes should be based on a distinction between four categories of recipes. The central feature that we use to single out a category is the type of relationship that a recipe bears to its author. The first category comprises “open recipes” like wine, pizza, or salad, which come in taxonomic layers and are structurally open for new authors to reshape them. The second category comprises “institutional recipes,” namely those whose (...) authors typically form consortium-like institutions, such as Champagne wines or Quebec maple syrup. The third category comprises “brand recipes” like Coca-Cola, Nutella, or Big Mac, whose names are elusive semantic devices and connote rather than denote recipes. Finally, the fourth category comprises “flagship recipes,” which include all the personal renditions of a recipe whose identity is strongly bound to individual authors; we suggest that their semantics follows a causal-reference model of proper names. Besides its theoretical value, the classification we put forward is offered as a ground for settling legal disputes about recipes, evaluating charges of cultural appropriation that concern recipes, and guiding consumers, producers, and policy makers when they think about foods and diets. (shrink)
The concept of wild food does not play a significant role in contemporary nutritional science and it is seldom regarded as a salient feature within standard dietary guidelines. The knowledge systems of wild edible taxa are indeed at risk of disappearing. However, recent scholarship in ethnobotany, field biology, and philosophy demonstrated the crucial role of wild foods for food biodiversity and food security. The knowledge of how to use and consume wild foods is not only a means to deliver high-end (...) culinary offerings, but also a way to foster alternative models of consumption. Our aim in this paper is to provide a conceptual framework for wild foods, which can account for diversified wild food ontologies. In the first section of the paper, we survey the main conception of wild foods provided in the literature, what we call the Nature View. We argue that this view falls short of capturing characteristics that are core to a sound account of wilderness in a culinary sense. In the second part of the paper, we provide the foundation for an improved model of wild food, which can countenance multiple dimensions and degrees connoting wilderness in the culinary world. In the third part of the paper we argue that thanks to a more nuanced ontological analysis, the gradient framework can serve ethnobiologists, philosophers, scientists, and policymakers to represent and negotiate theoretical conflicts on the nature of wild food. (shrink)
In the past years, food has found itself a central focus of creativity in contemporary culture and a pinnacle of this trend has been the kind of culinary creativity displayed at Noma in Copenhagen. But what is culinary creativity? And what is distinctive about the kind of culinary creativity displayed at places like Noma? In this paper, I attempt to answer these two questions. Building up on pioneering work on creativity by Margaret Boden, I argue that creativity is a matter (...) of adding new valuable things to the world. I then distinguish three different ways a recipe can be creative, building up on different culinary trends. I then focus on the specific case of Noma and argue that what is specific about the kind of culinary creativity displayed at Noma is that it emphasizes the role that recipes can play in mediating our relation to the environment. (shrink)
In this paper I address some ways of making sense of, and so of understanding, recipes. I first make clear the plausibility of a recipe having aesthetic significance, thus situating recipes as continuous with other aspects of our lives and experiences, both artistic and non-artistic. My notion of “aesthetic” here derives from Ludwig Wittgenstein. Second, I also highlight how some recipes and cookbooks may actually serve another aesthetic goal: they facilitate attunement to aesthetic features of cooking and food, and to (...) things more generally. I show how this kind of preparation is consistent with Wittgenstein’s aims in his “Lectures on Aesthetics”, where he encourages a particular aesthetic attitude or predisposition. (shrink)
This article explores the cannibalistic dimensions of racial disgust and desire in Michel Houellebecq’s Submission. Situated within broader discourses of French déclinisme, Submis- sion offers a melancholic portrait of white nostalgia. Through the tastes and consumptive practices of his characters, Houellebecq depicts white identification as dependent on an ambivalent relationship to corporeal difference. Paying close attention to the mouth’s dual function as a site of ontological triage (sorting out the human from the non-human, the edible from the inedible) and ontological (...) transformation (converting dead matter into living flesh), I argue that cannibalist desire is integral to white nationalist anxiety. (shrink)
World food production is facing exorbitant challenges like climate change, use of resources, population growth, and dietary changes. These, in turn, raise major ethical and political questions, such as how to uphold the right to adequate nutrition, or the right to enact a gastronomic culture and to preserve the conditions to do so. Proposals for utopic solutions vary from vertical farming and lab meat to diets filled with the most fanciful insects and seaweeds. Common to all proposals is a polarized (...) understanding of food and diets, famously captured by Warren Belasco in the contraposition between technological fixes and anthropological fixes. According to the first, technology will deliver clean, just, pleasurable, affordable food; future generations will not need to adjust much of their dietary cultures. According to the second, future generations should dramatically change their dietary habits (what they eat and how they eat it) to achieve a sustainable diet. The two fixes found remarkably distinct perspectives over dietary politics and the ethics of food production and consumption. In this paper we argue that such polarized thinking rests on a misrepresentation of the ontological status of food, which in turn affects the underlying ethical and political issues. Food is a socially constructed object that draws in specific ways on habits, norms, traditions, geographical, and climatic conditions. Although this thesis seems somewhat obvious, its consequences on the ethical and political perspectives on the future of food have not been derived properly. After introducing the issue at stake (¤1), we point out the polarities that characterize food utopias (¤2) and their ontological faults (¤3). We hence suggest that a socio-ontological analysis of food can better deliver the principles for a foundation of food utopias (¤4). (shrink)
Contemporary philosophers have studied food and its consumption from several disciplinary perspectives, including normative ethics, bioethics, environmental ethics, political philosophy, epistemology, and aesthetics. Many questions remain, however, underexplored or unaddressed. It is in the spirit of contributing to fill in these scholarly gaps that we designed the current issue, which represents the first collection of papers dedicated to food from a perspective of analytic metaphysics. Before presenting the five papers published in this issue, we shall briefly frame the current research (...) on food linked to analytic metaphysics and point out future directions of research in this area. We begin with the most basic interroga- tive, namely What is food?, and then offer three illustrations of more specific re- search questions. We hope these examples suffice to demonstrate that food is a fertile terrain of inquiry for analytic metaphysics and that it deserves to be devel- oped. (shrink)
In this paper, we discuss the conceptual structure of cocktail recipes. This topic involves engaging questions for philosophers and food theorists due to some peculiar characteristics of cocktail recipes, such as the fact that they are standardised by international associations but, nonetheless, vagueness in some elements of the recipes introduces a degree of variability between cocktails of the same type. Our proposal is that a classical theory of concepts is unable to account for such peculiar features. Thus, only a hybrid (...) theoretical approach, combining definitional and prototypical aspects, can capture how cocktail recipes are usually conceptualised among bartenders and mixologists: while the spirit is usually a necessary (though not sufficient) condition for establishing whether an individual cocktail falls under a specific cocktail concept, all the other ingredients and procedures listed in recipes may vary to a certain extent. In order to assess whether variability in prototypical elements of cocktail recipes has any limitations, we exploit the notion of conceptual scheme applied to cocktail recipes and argue that, as long as the quality dimensions of a specific cocktail are respected, its identity remains unchanged regardless of changes in the ingredients or in its preparation. (shrink)
The ontology of recipes is by and large unexplored. In this paper, I offer a three-steps account. After introducing some key terminology, I distinguish four main options for a theory of recipes: realism, constructivism, existentialism, and the naïve approach. Hence, I first argue that recipes are social entities whose identity depends on a process of identification, typically performed by means of a performative utterance on the part of a cook ; thus, the best theoretical framework for a theory of recipes (...) is a constructivist. Secondly, I argue that the identity of recipes can be grasped only by being suitably acquainted with the dishes that instantiate them, because of the impossibility to spell out recipes in details that would match a full-fledged dish; hence, the authority to establish the identity of a recipe rests on a process of apprenticeship. Finally, I argue that the identity of recipes and—vicariously—of the dishes that instantiate them, rest on three factors: the expertise required on the part of the cook; authenticity ; and the open-ended character of recipes. (shrink)
Ray Boisvert has started with his book an ambitious project to rethink the most important disciplines of philosophy from the stomach not from the mind. The stomach comprises an intrinsic connection with nature, people, and everything else that contributes to feeling well. The book presents a sometimes joyous and mostly very serious celebration of what eating can bring us in doing philosophy. The blurb text on the back cover claims: ‘Building on the original meaning of philosophy as love of wisdom, (...) it explains how the search for wisdom can best succeed by addressing not just the mind, but the entire human being. Eating, an activity that integrates physiological, social, religious, cultural, ethical, and aesthetic dimensions, offers an opportunity to re-think fundamental questions. The result: surprising and novel ways to approach art, religion, knowledge, ethics, and even democracy.’ Well, let’s see what it is all about with these claims.A start is made in the first chapter with a glan .. (shrink)
By looking at human practices around food, the paper brings novel evidence linking the social constructionist and the naturalist theories of gender, race, and the family, evidence that is based on the analysis of developmental trajectories. The argument rests on two main theoretical claims: unlike evolutionary explanations, developmental trajectories can play a decisive role in exhibiting the biological underpinnings of kinds related to gender, race, and family; food constitutes a point of convergence between constructionist and naturalist perspectives because it embeds (...) practices of particular significance for establishing identities of gender, race, and family that, at the same time, are rooted on skills and habits acquired through specific developmental patterns. The paper illustrates and via two case studies involving women hunters and the diet of the Obamas. The latter also suggests that kinds associated to gender, race, and family are entangled. (shrink)
Philosophers have been quarrelling for ages over the correct understanding of the identity relation and its applications, but seldom have they discussed the identity of foods, including beverages under this herd. Taking wine as a working example, the present study shows that foods call attention over unnoticed metaphysical difficulties, most importantly the role of authenticity in ascertaining the identity of an individual and the possibility of identity being determined by a collectivity of people. More in details, the paper examines the (...) relationship between a rank of wines and its specific instances, that is, on what grounds some wine is of a certain rank. A “rank of wines” here stands for wines that are identical under some respect, be it the area of production, the style, the color, the variety, and so forth. Extant wine labels are taken as the best candidates to carve out a class of wine ranks that is metaphysically prior to any other; the analysis focuses on geographic indications because of the extensive discussion they have generated, but the morals here drawn extend also to other classes of wine ranks, such as those utilized by wine experts. After some introductory remarks (§1), the case is made that the identity of wines is established through judgments of authenticity (§2). Issues of authenticity are then discussed through the special case of geographic indications (§3). Two different views on how to justify the attribution of a geographic indication are presented and criticized; those rest respectively on terroir (§3.1) and chemical composition (§3.2). The last section (§4) argues for a conventionalist view on wine identity. Distancing itself from conventionalist proposals advanced to favor industrial wine production, the view defended here ties the identity of a wine to collective expert judgments of authenticity that are based on the extensive pleasure of the product. (shrink)
È una credenza diffusa che i marchi di origine (DOCG, DOC, DOP, IGT, IGP e PAT, rispettivamente: di origine controllata e garantita; di origine controllata; di origine protetta; indicazione geografica tipica; indicazione geografica protetta; prodotti agroalimentari tradizionali) siano di grande utilità sia per i consumatori che per i produttori: certificando l’origine e il metodo di produzione di un prodotto, essi ne garantiscono una certa qualità di fronte al consumatore. Ma è proprio così? Che cosa giustifica l’introduzione di un marchio di (...) origine? Quanto sostengo qui di seguito è che, sebbene non credo si possa negare che i marchi di origine segnalino anche una certa qualità di un prodotto, forse non sono il modo migliore per farlo. Di fatto, per il consumatore, i marchi non garantiscono niente che vada oltre alla qualità richiesta affinché la certificazione venga rilasciata; ma, al contempo, in quanto forme di protezionismo, favoriscono certi produttori, prevenendo l’utilizzo della denominazione a chi offre un prodotto di qualità analoga o superiore, ma provienente da una zona priva di tradizioni. In altre parole: se vi sono prodotti equiparabili per qualità e gusto ad un dato prodotto di origine, e possibilmente più economicamente vantaggiosi, il consumatore non avrà modo di accorgersene dalla sola nomenclatura. Quindi: i marchi di origine sono (talvolta) un ostacolo all’acquisto e al godimento dei prodotti migliori al miglior prezzo. Talvolta: questo deve essere ben sottolineato, poiché in certi casi (per esempio quello dei PAT) il prodotto certificato dal marchio ha un mercato talmente di nicchia da costituire un tuttuno tra qualità e origine. (Si potrebbe aggiungere che le certificazioni dei marchi non sono sempre ottenute attraverso procedure affidabili. Non insisterò oltre su questo punto, per il quale si rimanda a: Paolo Conti, La leggenda del buon cibo italiano e altri miti alimentari contemporanei, Fazi Editore, 2006; Peter Singer e Jim Mason: The Way We Eat.. (shrink)
In current society, eating is most definitely a gendered act: that is, what we eat and how we eat it factors in both the construction and the performance of gender. Furthermore, eating is a gendered act with consequences that go far beyond whether one orders a steak or a salad for dinner. In the first half of this paper, I identify the dominant myths surrounding both female and male eating, and I show that those myths contribute in important ways to (...) cultural constructions of male and female appetites more generally speaking. In the second half, I argue that the Christian church should share feminism’s perception of these current cultural myths as fundamentally disordered, and I claim that the Christian traditions of fasting and feasting present us with a concrete means to counter those damaging conceptions and reclaim a healthy attitude toward our hunger. (shrink)
Food & Philosophy offers a collection of essays which explore a range of philosophical topics related to food; it joins Wine & Philosophy and Beer & Philosophy in in the "Epicurean Trilogy." Essays are organized thematically and written by philosophers, food writers, and professional chefs.
Why is there a new explosion of interest in authentic ethnic foods and exotic cooking shows, where macho chefs promote sensual adventures in the kitchen? Why do we watch TV ads that promise more sex if we serve the right breakfast cereal? Why is the hunger strike such a potent political tool? Food inevitably engages questions of sensuality and power, of our connections to our bodies and to our world. Carnal Appetites brilliantly uses the lens of food and eating to (...) ask how we eat into culture, eat into identities, indeed eat into ourselves. Drawing on interviews, theory, and her own war with anorexia, Probyn argues that food is replacing sex in our imagination and experience of bodily pleasure. Our culinary cravings and habits express the turmoil in gender roles, in families, and even in the world economy, where famine coexists with plenty. Probyn explores these dark interconnections to forge a new visceral ethics rooted in the language of hunger and satiety, disgust and pleasure, gluttonyand restraint. From the fat pride movement and diet fads to genetically altered grain and colonial cannibalism, Carnal Appetites looks at what we eat to tell us who we are. (shrink)
Philosophy has often been criticized for privileging the abstract; this volume attempts to remedy that situation. Focusing on one of the most concrete of human concerns, food, the editors argue for the existence of a philosophy of food.
This paper addresses Koch's concern about whether a coresponsible theorist can engage in inquiry with a theorist who is “beyond the pale.” On what grounds, he ash, can a coresponsible inquirer argue against one who uses a racist, sexist, or classist model for inquiry? 1 argue that, in such situations, the coresponsible inquirer brings to inquiry both a theoretical framework, or “attitude,” and a set of practical concerns which manifest that attitude.
This paper contends that Heldke's recipe analogy can be reworked to help us deal with those who hold beliefs and practice activities that are contrary to our own. It draws upon the work of William James and John Dewey to develop a practical approach to such conflict situations.
This is a paper about philosophical inquiry and cooking. In it, I suggest that thinking about cooking can illuminate our understanding of other forms of inquiry. Specifically, I think it provides us with one way to circumvent the dilemma of absolutism and relativism. The paper is divided into two sections. In the first, I sketch the background against which my project is situated. In the second, I develop an account of cooking as inquiry, by exploring five aspects of recipe creation (...) and use. (shrink)