Synopses & Reviews
Appetites for Thought
offers up a delectable intellectual challenge: can we better understand the concepts of philosophers from their culinary choices? Guiding us around the philosopher’s banquet table with erudition, wit, and irreverence, Michel Onfray offers surprising insights on foods ranging from fillet of cod to barley soup, from sausage to wine and coffee.
Tracing the edible obsessions of philosophers from Diogenes to Sartre, Onfray considers how their ideas relate to their diets. Would Diogenes have been an opponent of civilization without his taste for raw octopus? Would Rousseau have been such a proponent of frugality if his daily menu had included something more than dairy products? Onfray offers a perfectly Kantian critique of the nose and palate, since “the idea obtained from them is more a representation of enjoyment than cognition of the external object.” He exposes Nietzsche’s grumpiness—really, Nietzsche grumpy?—about bad cooks and the retardation of human evolution, and he explores Sartre’s surrealist repulsion by shellfish because they are “food buried in an object, and you have to pry them out.”
A fun romp through the culinary likes and dislikes of our most famous thinkers, Appetites for Thought will intrigue, provoke, and entertain, and it might also make you ponder a bite to eat.
and#8220;A highly recommended read, both for those already acquainted with the topics and for laymen.and#8221;
“A highly recommended read, both for those already acquainted with the topics and for laymen.” Milena Marciniak
“This svelte little book is surprising and delightful. Only a Frenchman could have written so delectably about food and philosophy.”
“Appetites for Thought
is a delightful read; a deceptively small book, but packed densely with ideas. It’s like a serving of fancy tapas: misleadingly small little dishes, but rich and filling once you consume them.”
This book explores food from a philosophical perspective, bringing together sixteen leading philosophers to consider the most basic questions about food: What is it exactly? What should we eat? How do we know it is safe? How should food be distributed? What is good food? David M. Kaplanand#8217;s erudite and informative introduction grounds the discussion, showing how philosophers since Plato have taken up questions about food, diet, agriculture, and animals. However, until recently, few have considered food a standard subject for serious philosophical debate. Each of the essays in this book brings in-depth analysis to many contemporary debates in food studiesand#151;Slow Food, sustainability, food safety, and politicsand#151;and addresses such issues as and#147;happy meat,and#8221; aquaculture, veganism, and table manners. The result is an extraordinary resource that guides readers to think more clearly and responsibly about what we consume and how we provide for ourselves, and illuminates the reasons why we act as we do.
Gary L. Francione
Kevin W. Sweeney
Appetites for Thought offers up a formidable intellectual challenge: can we better understand the concepts of philosophers from their culinary choices? Tracing the food obsessions of philosophers from Diogenes to Sartre, Michel Onfray—a philosopher himself—considers how their ideas relate to their diets: Would Diogenes have been an opponent of civilization without his taste for raw octopus? Would Rousseau have been such a proponent of frugality if his daily menu had included something more than dairy products? For Kant, the nose and palate are organs of sensation without nobility, for, as Kant writes, “the idea obtained from them is more a representation of enjoyment than cognition of the external object.” While for Nietzsche, “it is through bad female cooks—through the complete absence of reason in the kitchen, that the evolution of man has been longest retarded and most harmed.” Sartre was famously repulsed by shellfish (not to mention tomatoes) because it was “food buried in an object, and you have to pry it out”—and also renowned as the philosopher who developed a unique conception of nausea.
Appetites for Thought will intrigue, provoke, and entertain, and it might also make you fancy a snack.
About the Author
is a French philosopher and founder of the tuition-free Université Populaire in Caen, France, where he teaches. He is the author of many books, including, most recently, The Atheist Manifesto
. Stephen Muecke
is professor of ethnography at the University of New South Wales, Australia, and a writer of fiction. His translations include Jos Gils Metamorphoses of the Body
. He lives in Sydney. Donald Barry
(19552014) was a lecturer at the University of Western Sydney and a translator specializing in French.
Table of Contents
Introduction: The Philosophy of Food
David M. Kaplan
1. Real Men Have Manners
2. Down-Home Global Cooking: A Third Option between Cosmopolitanism and Localism
3. Hunger Is the Best Sauce
4. Tastes, Smells, and Everyday Aesthetics
5. Ethical Gourmandism
6. Two Evils in Food Country: Hunger and Lack of Representation
7. Ethics and Genetically Modified Food
8. The Ethics of Food Safety in the Twenty-First Century: Who Keeps the Public Good?
9. The Myth of Happy Meat
Richard P. Haynes
10. The Problem of Happy Meat and the Importance of Vegan Education
11. Animal Ethics and Food Production in the Twenty-First Century
12. Nature Politics and the Philosophy of Agriculture
Paul B. Thompson
13. The Ethics and Sustainability of Aquaculture
14. Scenarios for Food Security
David Castle, Keith Culver, and William Hannah
15. Nutritionism and Functional Foods
16. In Vitro Meat: What Are the Moral Issues?
Stellan Welin, Julie Gold, and Johanna Berlin