Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The ethics of eating: what the freegan is this?


Everyone is talking about food. Chefs and food critics are celebrities. "Locavore" and "freegan" have earned spots in the dictionary. Popular books and films about food production and consumption are exposing the unintended consequences of the standard American diet. Questions about the principles and values that ought to guide decisions about dinner have become urgent for moral, ecological, and health-related reasons. So, as we begin a New Year and perhaps the inevitable resolution of ‘new diet new me’, which ethical corner will you be in at the dinner table?
In Philosophy Comes to Dinner, twelve philosophers—some leading voices, some inspiring new ones—join the conversation, and consider issues from the sustainability of modern agriculture, to consumer complicity in animal exploitation, as well as the pros and cons of alternative diets.
The last few years have seen much written that should psychologically (and perhaps physically) unsettle those who eat the typical American diet, but this book ups the ante. Not only does it contain important new arguments, it is packed with provocative new questions.
Concerned consumers have been discussing food reform for decades. An entire social movement has even formed around the issue. But—somewhat astonishingly—we have yet to think systematically about the ethical implications of our proposals. Philosophy Comes to Dinner changes that.

In a culinary world marked by simplistic and polarized extremes—organic versus conventional, free trade versus fair trade, local versus global food, vegan versus "conscientious carnivore," and so on— it asks us to exchange ideology for reflection and thoroughly explore why we’re making the food choices we are making. Philosophy Comes to Dinner represents the fact that philosophy is, figuratively, just one guest around a very crowded table, alongside agriculture, business, government, nonprofit, and religion, who can play a pivotal role in transforming our food system.

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