What Is a Recipe?

Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 28 (4):719-738 (2015)
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The ontology of recipes is by and large unexplored. In this paper, I offer a three-steps account. After introducing some key terminology, I distinguish four main options for a theory of recipes: realism, constructivism, existentialism, and the naïve approach. Hence, I first argue that recipes are social entities whose identity depends on a process of identification, typically performed by means of a performative utterance on the part of a cook ; thus, the best theoretical framework for a theory of recipes is a constructivist. Secondly, I argue that the identity of recipes can be grasped only by being suitably acquainted with the dishes that instantiate them, because of the impossibility to spell out recipes in details that would match a full-fledged dish; hence, the authority to establish the identity of a recipe rests on a process of apprenticeship. Finally, I argue that the identity of recipes and—vicariously—of the dishes that instantiate them, rest on three factors: the expertise required on the part of the cook; authenticity ; and the open-ended character of recipes



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Andrea Borghini
Università degli Studi di Milano

References found in this work

Languages of Art: An Approach to a Theory of Symbols.Nelson Goodman - 1971 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 22 (2):187-198.
Works of music: an essay in ontology.Julian Dodd - 2007 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Art as Performance.Dave Davies - 2003 - Wiley-Blackwell.
Languages of Art: An Approach to a Theory of Symbols.B. C. O'Neill - 1971 - Philosophical Quarterly 21 (85):361.

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