The Cannibali That We Are: For a Bioethics of Food

Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 29 (2):268-275 (2020)
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Abstract

Is it possible to trace the contours of a bioethical reflection on nutrition? The present study tries to do so, relying on the metaphorical and symbolic value that food often takes. Indeed, eating does not mean just getting sufficient nutrition, because through the offer and exchange of food, people recognize and welcome each other. In this sense we are all, in some way, cannibals, because in eating, we eat the other, even if the introjection of the other is only symbolic and not literal, as in the case of actual cannibals. Eating habits are also very rooted in various cultures and sometimes resist migratory flows to a greater extent than language and religion do. Consequently, the disgust for, or the refusal of, other people’s food may be an indicator of a more general rejection of the diversity of other people. The conclusion reached by this study is that eating is taking care of the self and of the other and, therefore, as Jacques Derrida observes, it is necessary to “eat well” and also “eat the good.”

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Fabrizio Turoldo
University of Venice

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L'Être et le Néant.J. -P. Sartre - 1943 - Revue de Métaphysique et de Morale 49 (2):183-184.
A perspective on disgust.Paul Rozin & April E. Fallon - 1987 - Psychological Review 94 (1):23-41.
The Difference between Fichte's and Schelling's System of Philosophy.G. W. F. Hegel, H. S. Harris & Walter Cerf - 1977. - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 11 (2):138-138.

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