Agency and Autonomy in Food Choice: Can We Really Vote with Our Forks?

Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 35 (1):1-15 (2022)
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Ethical consumerism is the thesis that we should let our values determine our consumer purchases. We should purchase items that accord with our values and refrain from buying those that do not. The end goal, for ethical consumerism, is to transform the market through consumer demand. The arm of this movement associated with food choice embraces the slogan “Vote with Your Fork!” As in the more general movement, the idea is that we should let our values dictate our choices. In this paper, I offer a critique of the Vote with Your Fork campaign (hereafter VWYF) that focuses on the agency of individuals. For VWYF to be effective, minimally, individuals must act _intentionally_ when making food choices. In the ideal case, individuals adopt and endorse the values implicit in VWYF and exhibit _autonomous agency_ when they purchase and consume food. The problem, though, is that a number of things can go wrong along the way. I argue that very few of us are in the position to exhibit autonomous agency with respect to our food choices. Because of this, VWYF could very well undermine its own goals.



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Jill Dieterle
Eastern Michigan University

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References found in this work

Intention.G. E. M. Anscombe - 1957 - Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
Responsibility and Control: A Theory of Moral Responsibility.John Martin Fischer & Mark Ravizza - 1998 - New York: Cambridge University Press. Edited by Mark Ravizza.
Freedom of the will and the concept of a person.Harry G. Frankfurt - 1971 - Journal of Philosophy 68 (1):5-20.
Actions, Reasons, and Causes.Donald Davidson - 1963 - Journal of Philosophy 60 (23):685.
The Theory and Practice of Autonomy.Gerald Dworkin - 1988 - New York: Cambridge University Press.

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