The Emergence of Food Ethics

Food Ethics 1 (1):61-74 (2016)
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Abstract

Philosophical food ethics or deliberative inquiry into the moral norms for production, distribution and consumption of food is contrasted with food ethics as an international social movement aimed at reforming the global food system. The latter yields an activist orientation that can become embroiled in self-defeating impotency when the complexity and internal contradictions of the food system are more fully appreciated. However, recent work in intersectionality offers resources that are useful to both philosophical and activist food ethics. For activists, intersectionality provides a way to preserve and strengthen the meaningfulness of protest and resistance, even in the face of complexity and uncertain outcomes. For philosophers, intersectionality chastens the tendency to regard moral problems as inherently solvable, and provides a way use tensions inherent in food system reform as a source of ethical insight.

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Paul B. Thompson
Michigan State University