The ethics of eating as a human organism: A Bergsonian analysis of the misrecognition of life

In Mary C. Rawlinson & Caleb Ward (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Food Ethics. London: Routledge. pp. 48-58 (2017)


Conventional ethics of how humans should eat often ignore that human life is itself a form of organic activity. Using Henri Bergson’s notions of intellect and intuition, this chapter brings a wider perspective of the human organism to the ethical question of how humans appropriate life for nutriment. The intellect’s tendency to instrumentalize living things as though they were inert seems to subtend the moral failures evident in practices such as industrial animal agriculture. Using the case study of Temple Grandin’s sympathetic cattle technologies, this chapter moves beyond animal welfare concerns to ground food ethics on the phenomenal character of food that is obscured by human activities of fabrication.

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