Pragmatism and the Fixation of 21st Century Food Beliefs

Food Ethics 7 (1) (2022)
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What to eat is a question of everyday life. What food to grow (and how) has become an important issue of political and scientific debate. Using Charles Sanders Peirce’s famous essay on The Fixation of Belief (1877), this paper examines what food habits we hold with tenacity, which beliefs about what to eat are imposed on us by authority, when our choices are based on a priori reasoning, and where we rely on scientific logic when we choose food. Based on Peirce’s early pragmatist ideas, this paper analyzes current debates about veganism, clean meat, and small-scale pasture farming as alternatives to the current food system. While some patterns of opposing views can be explained by contrasting conservative and progressive modes of thought (Lakoff 2008), an ecolinguistic perspective (Stibbe 2015) explains, for instance, how animals are sometimes erased from food narratives. The familiar and possibly outdated model of the local and the global is augmented with a terrestrial point of view (Latour 2018) as more eaters consider the future of the planet.



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Metaphors We Live By.George Lakoff & Mark Johnson - 1980 - University of Chicago Press. Edited by Mark Johnson.
Facing Gaia: eight lectures on the new climatic regime.Bruno Latour - 2017 - Medford, MA: Polity. Edited by Catherine Porter.
The Fixation of Belief.Charles S. Peirce - 2011 - In Robert B. Talisse & Scott F. Aikin (eds.), The Pragmatism Reader: From Peirce Through the Present. Princeton University Press. pp. 37-49.

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