Philosophy of Food and Drink

Edited by Andrea Borghini (Università degli Studi di Milano, Università degli Studi di Milano)
About this topic
Summary The objective of this category is to create a up to date and comprehensive repertoire of the current literature on the philosophy of food and drinking. This is an up and coming area of philosophy. It is distinctly characterized by its appeal to virtually any philosophical sub-discipline, by its cross-disciplinary vocation, and by its relevance for society at large. Alike areas such as philosophy of biology, philosophy of gender, and the philosophy of art, the philosophy of food concerns questions that pertain to several sub-fields, including ethics, political philosophy, philosophy of science, metaphysics, aesthetics, philosophy of mind, and philosophy of language. The ethical and political aspects of the philosophy of food are without doubt its most advanced and well-known aspects. More recently, however, the philosophy of food has taken a more theoretical inflexion. Contemporary philosophers have indeed begun in-depth investigations of questions concerning topics such as: taste, the aesthetics experience of drinking and eating, food identity, food biodiversity, food policy, food law, food and social class, food and gender.

Key works Early contemporary works in the field include, Singer 2009, Korsmeyer 1999, Telfer 1996, and Thompson 1998
Introductions A wide repertoire of topics can be found in Thompson & Kaplan 2012 Area introductions include: Tom & Frey 2011, Barnhill et al 2017,  Monroe & Allhoff 2007Sandler 2014Thompson 2015, and Kaplan 2012. For some area-specific readers: [BROKEN REFERENCE: 0w]#BAITEO-10.  
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Material to categorize
  1. Pragmatic Environmentalism: Towards a Rhetoric of Eco-Justice.Shane Ralston - 2011 - Leicester: Troubador.
    Although this book is about the newly emerging academic field of environmental communication, it is also about voice and practical activism. I contend that a deeply pragmatic form of environmental communication has the potential to transform the way environmental activists speak about their methods and goals – moving them toward a rhetoric of eco-justice. Sometimes looking forward requires stepping back – in this case back to two progressive era thinkers who revolutionised our outlook on social and environmental justice: John Dewey (...)
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  2. The Taste(s) of a Recipe.Davide Bordini - forthcoming - In Andrea Borghini & Patrik Engisch (eds.), A Philosophy of Recipes: Making, Experiencing, and Valuing. London: Bloomsbury.
    In this paper, I investigate the relation between recipes and taste. In particular, I do three things. First, I sketch and articulate different versions of essentialism, a view that I take to reflect our pre-theoretical intuitions on the matter. Roughly, on this view, taste is essentially related to recipes—either by contributing to their identity or by being otherwise strongly related to it. Second, I argue that no version of essentialism is really convincing; hence, I conclude, recipes and taste are not (...)
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  3. Thinking Through Food: A Philosophical Introduction.Alexandra Plakias - 2018 - Broadview Press.
    This book offers a wide-ranging yet concise introduction to the many philosophical issues surrounding food production and consumption. It begins with discussions of the metaphysics, epistemology, and aesthetics of food, then moves on to debates about the ethics of eating animals, the environmental impacts of food production, and the role of technology in our food supply, before concluding with discussions of food access, health, and justice. Throughout, the author draws on cross-disciplinary research to engage with historical debates and current events.
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Drinks and Drinking
See also: Alcoholism
  1. Wine and Philosophy.Fritz Allhoff (ed.) - 2008 - Blackwell.
    In Wine & Philosophy, philosophers, wine critics, and winemakers share their passion for wine through well-crafted essays that explore wine’s deeper meaning, nature, and significance.
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Coffee and Tea
  1. Totul despre cafea - Cultivare, preparare, reţete, aspecte culturale.Nicolae Sfetcu - 2015 - Drobeta Turnu Severin: MultiMedia Publishing.
    Un ghid complet pentru cultivarea şi prepararea celor mai variate tipuri de cafea, cu accent pe aspectele culturale şi de sănătate, şi modalităţi de includere a cafelei în diverse deserturi şi cocktailuri. Cafeaua este o băutură universal recunoscută ca o necesitate umană. Departe de a fi văzută ca un lux sau privită cu indulgenţă, ea este considerată un corolar pentru energia şi eficienţa umană, producând în acelaşi timp o puternică senzaţie de plăcere. Cafeaua este o băutură democratică. Este în acelaşi (...)
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  2. The Unexamined Cup is Not Worth Drinking.Kristopher G. Phillips - 2011 - In Scott F. Parker & Michael W. Austin (eds.), Coffee - Philosophy for Everyone: Grounds for Debate. Wiley-Blackwell.
    There is something that it is like to be you, and I argue that there is something that it is like to experience the terminology that baristas employ in describing coffee. I argue that there is a world of experiential difference between those in the know and those who are not. Borrowing from David Hume's "Of the Standard of Taste" I argue that while everyone likes what they like, one can still be mistaken in liking something of lower quality.
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Drunkenness
  1. Wine and Philosophy.Tim Crane - 2003 - Harper's Magazine 1 (May).
    What could be more dull than the idea of a symposium? The word conjures up associations with dusty dons, tedious academic papers on deservedly obscure facts and theories. In universities these days, what used to be called ‘symposia’ are often called ‘workshops’ – perhaps in a feeble attempt to make the symposium sound more exciting. If this is your view of the symposium, you may be surprised to learn that the original ancient Greek symposium was a drinking party: the word (...)
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  2. Excess.Tim Crane - unknown
    The history of wine-drinking is a history of excess. From Noah’s disastrous first experiments and the bacchanalia of the ancient Greeks to the spectacular overindulgence described in the diaries of Evelyn Waugh, the consumption of wine to excess has been a recurrent theme among those drink and those who write about it. Sometimes the quantities consumed by the drinkers of the past are staggering. According to Roy Porter’s English Society in the Eighteenth Century, ‘to gain a reputation as a blade (...)
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  3. In Vino Veritas.Barry C. Smith & Tim Crane - 2007 - The Philosophers' Magazine 39 (39):75-78.
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Wine
  1. Innards of Ingarden: Physiology of Time.Virgil W. Brower - 2020 - In Dominika Czakon, Natalia Anna Michna & Leszek Sosnowski (eds.), Roman Ingarden and His Times. Kraków, Poland: pp. 25-42.
    This project begins with the selective sensory experience suggested by lngarden followed by an insensitivity he insinuates to digestive processes. This is juxtaposed with an oenological explanation of phenomenal sedimentation offered by Jean-Luc Marion. It compares the dynamics of time in the former with the those of wine in the latter. Emphasis is given to lngarden's insinuation of time as fluid, liquid, or aquatic. It revisits Ingarden's physiological explanations of partially-open systems by way of the bilateral excretion and absorption of (...)
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  2. The Spiritual & Sensuous: Aesthetics of Adorno & Scruton.Virgil W. Brower - 2018 - Wassard Elea Rivista 6 (3):127-139.
  3. Percevoir L’Expression Émotionnelle Dans les Objets Inanimés : L’Exemple du Vin: Dialogue.Cain Todd - 2012 - Dialogue 51 (1):129-139.
    ABSTRACT: Amongst inanimate objects, it is generally accepted that at least some art forms, such as music and painting, are capable of being genuinely expressive of emotion, even though it is difficult to understand exactly how. In contrast, although expressive properties can be attributed to non-artworks, such as natural objects or wine, it has often been claimed that such objects cannot be genuinely expressive. Focussing on wine, I argue that once we understand properly the nature of expressiveness, if we allow (...)
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  4. Questions of Taste: The Philosophy of Wine: Book Reviews. [REVIEW]Carolyn Korsmeyer - 2008 - British Journal of Aesthetics 48 (2):233-235.
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  5. "I Drink Therefore I Am: A Philosopher's Guide to Wine" by Roger Scruton. [REVIEW]Tim Crane - 2011 - Philosophy 86 (1):138-42.
    Of all the things we eat or drink, wine is without question the most complex. So it should not be surprising that philosophers have turned their attention to wine: complex phenomena can lend themselves to philosophical speculation. Wine is complex not just in the variety of tastes it presents – ‘wine tastes of everything apart from grapes’, I once heard an expert say – but in its meaning...
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  6. Wine and Philosophy.Tim Crane - 2003 - Harper's Magazine 1 (May).
    What could be more dull than the idea of a symposium? The word conjures up associations with dusty dons, tedious academic papers on deservedly obscure facts and theories. In universities these days, what used to be called ‘symposia’ are often called ‘workshops’ – perhaps in a feeble attempt to make the symposium sound more exciting. If this is your view of the symposium, you may be surprised to learn that the original ancient Greek symposium was a drinking party: the word (...)
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  7. Excess.Tim Crane - unknown
    The history of wine-drinking is a history of excess. From Noah’s disastrous first experiments and the bacchanalia of the ancient Greeks to the spectacular overindulgence described in the diaries of Evelyn Waugh, the consumption of wine to excess has been a recurrent theme among those drink and those who write about it. Sometimes the quantities consumed by the drinkers of the past are staggering. According to Roy Porter’s English Society in the Eighteenth Century, ‘to gain a reputation as a blade (...)
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  8. The Aesthetics of Wine.Douglas Burnham & Ole Martin Skilleas - 2012 - Wiley-Blackwell.
    This book represents the first full-length study of the aesthetics of the appreciation of wine. It introduces and argues for the validity and significance of several new concepts: competency, project, and aesthetic practices. Using these concepts -- together with analyses borrowed from cognitive science, sensory science, Husserlian phenomenology and hermeneutics -- the case is made that wine can be a proper and indeed significant object of aesthetic attention. The implications of this are pursued in three ways: First, within the culture (...)
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  9. The Philosophy of Wine: A Case of Truth, Beauty and Intoxication.Cain Todd - 2010 - Routledge.
    Does this Bonnes-Mares really have notes of chocolate, truffle, violets, and merde de cheval? Can wines really be feminine, profound, pretentious, or cheeky? Can they express emotion or terroir? Do the judgements of 'experts' have any objective validity? Is a great wine a work of art? Questions like these will have been entertained by anyone who has ever puzzled over the tasting notes of a wine writer, or been baffled by the response of a sommelier to an innocent question. Only (...)
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  10. Categories and Appreciation – A Reply to Sackris.Ole Martin Skilleås & Douglas Burnham - 2014 - Journal of Value Inquiry 48 (3):551-557.
    In his article “Category Independent Aesthetic Experience: The Case of Wine” in this journal, David Sackris presents arguments against Kendall Walton’s view in the famous article “Categories of Art.”David Sackris, “Category Independent Aesthetic Experience: The Case of Wine,” The Journal of Value Inquiry, 47 (2013), pp. 111–120; Kendall Walton, “Categories of Art,” in Steven M. Cahn and Aaron Meskin (Eds) Aesthetics: A Comprehensive Anthology. (Oxford: Blackwell, 2007), pp. 521–537. [First published in The Philosophical Review, 79 (1970), pp. 334–367.] He claims, (...)
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  11. You'll Never Drink Alone: Wine Tasting and Aesthetic Practice.Douglas Burnham & Ole Martin Skilleås - 2008 - In Fritz Allhoff (ed.), Wine and Philosophy. Blackwell.
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  12. Wine as an Aesthetic Object.Tim Crane - 2007 - In Barry C. Smith (ed.), Questions of Taste: The Philosophy of Wine. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 141--156.
    Art is one thing, the aesthetic another. Things can be appreciated aesthetically – for instance, in terms of the traditional category of the beautiful – without being works of art. A landscape can be appreciated as beautiful; so can a man or a woman. Appreciation of such natural objects in terms of their beauty certainly counts as aesthetic appreciation, if anything does. This is not simply because landscapes and people are not artefacts; for there are also artefacts which are assessable (...)
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  13. Wineworld: Tasting, Making, Drinking, Being.Nicola Perullo - 2012 - Rivista di Estetica 51:3-48.
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  14. Wineworld. New Essays on Wine, Taste, Philosophy and Aesthetics.Nicola Perullo - 2012 - Rivista di Estetica 51:3-48.
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  15. Expression and Objectivity in the Case of Wine: Defending the Aesthetic Terroir of Tastes and Smells.Cain Todd - 2012 - Rivista di Estetica 51:95-115.
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  16. Fermented Thoughts.Ophelia Deroy - 2010 - The Philosophers' Magazine 48 (48):104-105.
  17. In Vino Veritas.Barry C. Smith & Tim Crane - 2007 - The Philosophers' Magazine 39 (39):75-78.
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  18. Questions of Taste: The Philosophy of Wine.Barry C. Smith (ed.) - 2007 - Oxford University Press.
    Is the taste of a wine in our minds or in the glass? Can knowledge make a difference to the pleasure a wine gives us? Do the elaborate descriptions of wines in terms of fruits or spices, their "suppleness" or "brawniness," really mean anything? Questions of Taste is the first book to examine the philosophical issues surrounding our experience and enjoyment of wine. Featuring lucid essays from philosophers, a linguist, a biochemist, a wine producer and a wine critic, these leading (...)
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  19. I Drink Therefore I Am: A Philosopher's Guide to Wine.Roger Scruton - 2009 - Continuum.
    This good-humoured book offers an antidote to the pretentious clap-trap that is written about wine today and a profound apology for the drink on which..
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Drinks and Drinking, Misc
  1. Wine and Philosophy.Tim Crane - 2003 - Harper's Magazine 1 (May).
    What could be more dull than the idea of a symposium? The word conjures up associations with dusty dons, tedious academic papers on deservedly obscure facts and theories. In universities these days, what used to be called ‘symposia’ are often called ‘workshops’ – perhaps in a feeble attempt to make the symposium sound more exciting. If this is your view of the symposium, you may be surprised to learn that the original ancient Greek symposium was a drinking party: the word (...)
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  2. Disputing Taste.Carolyn Korsmeyer - 2009 - The Philosophers' Magazine 45:70-76.
    The sense of taste falls low on the hierarchy of the senses because it seems a poor conduit for knowledge of the external world; it directs attention inward rather than outward; its pleasures are sensuous and bodily, prone to overindulgence that distracts from higher human endeavours; and its objects are at best merely pleasant, not of the highest aesthetic value. Such is the traditional assessment; now let us analyse its justice.
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  3. Fermented Thoughts.Ophelia Deroy - 2010 - The Philosophers' Magazine 48 (48):104-105.
  4. Food for Thought: Philosophy and Food.Elizabeth Telfer - 1996 - Routledge.
    The importance of food in our individual lives raises moral questions from the debate over eating animals to the prominence of gourmet cookery in the popular media. Through philosophy, Elizabeth Telfer discusses issues including our obligations to those who are starving; the value of the pleasure of food; food as art; our duties to animals; and the moral virtues of hospitableness and temperance. Elizabeth Telfer shows how much traditional philosophy, from Plato to John Stuart Mill, has to say to illuminate (...)
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Food Ethics
See also: Vegetarianism
  1. More Than Life-Sustaining Resources–on the Integrity Argument for Natural Resources.Sarah Isabel Espinosa Flor - 2021 - In Justice and food security in a changing climate. pp. 416-426.
    The things that matter most to us are usually those that have some deep meaning and special connection to us. Either because we find them beautiful, because they bring back good memories, or simply because they are things, whose existence we cherish (even if cannot fully explain why). There are also those things that are needed to live and therefore, we value more than any other. Water, food and air are good examples of these things. They are natural resources intrinsically (...)
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  2. How Animal Agriculture Stakeholders Define, Perceive, and Are Impacted by Antimicrobial Resistance: Challenging the Wellcome Trust’s Reframing Resistance Principles.Gabriel K. Innes, Agnes Markos, Kathryn R. Dalton, Caitlin A. Gould, Keeve E. Nachman, Jessica Fanzo, Anne Barnhill, Shannon Frattaroli & Meghan F. Davis - 2021 - Agriculture and Human Values 38 (4):893-909.
    Humans, animals, and the environment face a universal crisis: antimicrobial resistance. Addressing AR and its multi-disciplinary causes across many sectors including in human and veterinary medicine remains underdeveloped. One barrier to AR efforts is an inconsistent process to incorporate the plenitude of stakeholders about what AR is and how to stifle its development and spread—especially stakeholders from the animal agriculture sector, one of the largest purchasers of antimicrobial drugs. In 2019, The Wellcome Trust released Reframing Resistance: How to communicate about (...)
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  3. Eating as a Self-Shaping Activity.Megan A. Dean - 2021 - Feminist Philosophy Quarterly 7 (3).
    This paper contends that eating shapes the self; that is, our practices and understandings of eating can cultivate, reinforce, or diminish important aspects of the self, including agency, values, capacities, affects, and self-understandings. I argue that these self-shaping effects should be included in our ethical analyses and evaluations of eating. I make a case for this claim through an analysis and critique of the hypothesis that young women’s vegetarianism is a risk, sign, or “cover” for eating disorders or disordered eating. (...)
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  4. Introduction: Understanding Hunger.Andrea Borghini & Davide Serpico - 2021 - Topoi 40 (3):503-506.
  5. In Defense of Mindless Eating.Megan A. Dean - 2020 - Topoi 40 (3):507-516.
    This paper offers a defense of the practice of mindless eating. Popular accounts of the practice suggest that it is non-autonomous and to blame for many of society’s food related problems, including the so-called obesity epidemic and the prevalence of diet related illnesses like diabetes. I use Maureen Sie’s “traffic participation” account of agency to argue that some mindless eating is autonomous, or more specifically, agential. Insofar as we value autonomous eating, then, it should be valued. I also argue that (...)
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  6. Covert Administration of Medication in Food: A Worthwhile Moral Gamble?Laura Guidry-Grimes, Megan Dean & Elizabeth Kaye Victor - 2021 - Journal of Medical Ethics 47 (6):389-393.
    The covert administration of medication occurs with incapacitated patients without their knowledge, involving some form of deliberate deception in disguising or hiding the medication. Covert medication in food is a relatively common practice globally, including in institutional and homecare contexts. Until recently, it has received little attention in the bioethics literature, and there are few laws or rules governing the practice. In this paper, we discuss significant, but often overlooked, ethical issues related to covert medication in food. We emphasise the (...)
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  7. Nourishing Humanity Without Destroying the Planet.Anne Barnhill & Jessica Fanzo - 2021 - Ethics and International Affairs 35 (1):69-81.
    As part of the roundtable, “Ethics and the Future of the Global Food System,” this essay discusses some of the major challenges we will face in feeding the world in 2050. A first challenge is nutritional: 690 million people are currently undernourished, while 2.1 billion adults are overweight or obese. The current global food system is insufficient in ensuring that the nutritious foods that make up healthy diets are available and accessible for the world's population. Moreover, by 2050, as the (...)
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  8. Fischer, Bob. The Ethics of Eating Animals: Usually Bad, Sometimes Wrong, Often Permissible. New York: Routledge, 2019. Pp. 204. $160.00 (Cloth). [REVIEW]Justin Bernstein & Anne Barnhill - 2021 - Ethics 131 (3):605-610.
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  9. Identity and the Ethics of Eating Interventions.Megan A. Dean - 2019 - Journal of Bioethical Inquiry 16 (3):353-364.
    Although “you are what you eat” is a well-worn cliché, personal identity does not figure prominently in many debates about the ethics of eating interventions. This paper contributes to a growing philosophical literature theorizing the connection between eating and identity and exploring its implications for eating interventions. I explore how “identity-policing,” a key mechanism for the social constitution and maintenance of identity, applies to eating and trace its ethical implications for eating interventions. I argue that identity policing can be harmful (...)
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  10. The Pragmatic Pyramid: John Dewey on Gardening and Food Security.Shane J. Ralston - 2014 - Social Philosophy Today 30 (1):63-76.
    Despite the minimal attention paid by philosophers to gardening, the activity has a myriad of philosophical implications—aesthetic, ethical, political, and even edible. The same could be said of community food security and struggles for food justice. Two of gardening’s most significant practical benefits are that it generates communal solidarity and provides sustenance for the needy and undernourished during periods of crisis. In the twentieth century, large-scale community gardening in the U.S. and Canada coincided with relief projects during war-time and economic (...)
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  11. Food Miles, Local Eating, and Community Supported Agriculture: Putting Local Food in its Place. [REVIEW]Steven M. Schnell - 2013 - Agriculture and Human Values 30 (4):615-628.
    The idea of “food miles,” the distance that food has to be shipped, has entered into debates in both popular and academic circles about local eating. An oft-cited figure claims that the “average item” of food travels 1,500 miles before it reaches your plate. The source of this figure is almost never given, however, and indeed, it is a figure with surprisingly little grounding in objective research. In this study, I track the evolution of this figure, and the ways that (...)
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  12. Eating Outside the Box: FoodShare’s Good Food Box and the Challenge of Scale.Josée Johnston & Lauren Baker - 2005 - Agriculture and Human Values 22 (3):313-325.
    The concept of scale is useful in analyzing both the strengths and limitations of community food security programs that attempt to link issues of ecological sustainability with social justice. One scalar issue that is particularly important but under-theorized is the scale of social reproduction, which is often neglected in production-focused studies of globalization. FoodShare Toronto's good food box program, engages people in the politics of their everyday lives, empowering them to make connections between consumption patterns and broader political-economic, cultural, and (...)
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  13. Eating Right Here: Moving From Consumer to Food Citizen.Jennifer L. Wilkins - 2005 - Agriculture and Human Values 22 (3):269-273.
    The term food citizenship is defined as the practice of engaging in food-related behaviors that support, rather than threaten, the development of a democratic, socially and economically just, and environmentally sustainable food system. Ways to practice food citizenship are described and a role for universities in fostering food citizenship is suggested. Finally, four barriers to food citizenship are identified and described: the current food system, federal food and agriculture policy, local and institutional policies, and the culture of professional nutrition organizations.
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Food Law
  1. Public Justification and the Politics of Agriculture.Dan C. Shahar - 2018 - In Anne Barnhill, Mark Bryant Budolfson & Tyler Doggett (eds.), Oxford Handbook of Food Ethics. pp. 427–448.
  2. Food Labeling and Free Speech.Matteo Bonotti - 2017 - In Mary C. Rawlinson & Caleb Ward (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Food Ethics. Routledge. pp. 127--137.
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  3. Health Labeling.Morton Ebbe Juul Nielsen - 2017 - In Mary C. Rawlinson & Caleb Ward (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Food Ethics. Routledge. pp. 148--157.
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  4. Food Security at Risk: A Matter of Dignity and Self-Respect.Elena Irrera - 2017 - In Mary C. Rawlinson & Caleb Ward (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Food Ethics. Routledge. pp. 103--112.
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  5. Religious Dietary Practices and Secular Food Ethics; or, How to Hope That Your Food Choices Make a Difference Even When You Reasonably Believe That They Don't.Andrew Chignell - 2018 - In Mark Budolfson, Anne Barnhill & Tyler Doggett (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Food Ethics. New York, USA: Oxford University Press.
    Religious dietary practices foster a sense of communal identity, certainly, but traditionally they are also regarded as pleasing to God (or the gods, or the ancestors) and spiritually beneficial. In other words, for many religious people, the effects of fasting go well beyond what is immediately observed or empirically measurable, and that is a large part of what motivates participation in the practice. The goal of this chapter is to develop that religious way of thinking into a response to a (...)
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