Skip to main content
Food Philosophy: An Introduction

Food Philosophy: An Introduction

Current price: $35.00
Publication Date: November 19th, 2019
Columbia University Press
The MIT Press Bookstore
1 on hand, as of Apr 22 10:29am
On Our Shelves Now


Food is a challenging subject. There is little consensus about how and what we should produce and consume. It is not even clear what food is or whether people have similar experiences of it. On one hand, food is recognized as a basic need, if not a basic right. On the other hand, it is hard to generalize about it given the wide range of practices and cuisines, and the even wider range of tastes.

This book is an introduction to the philosophical dimensions of food. David M. Kaplan examines the nature and meaning of food, how we experience it, the social role it plays, its moral and political dimensions, and how we judge it to be delicious or awful. He shows how the different branches of philosophy contribute to a broader understanding of food: what food is (metaphysics), how we experience food (epistemology), what taste in food is (aesthetics), how we should make and eat food (ethics), how governments should regulate food (political philosophy), and why food matters to us (existentialism). Kaplan embarks on a series of philosophical investigations, considering topics such as culinary identity and authenticity, tasting and food criticism, appetite and disgust, meat eating and techno-foods, and consumerism and conformity. He emphasizes how different narratives help us navigate the complex world of food and reminds us we all have responsibilities to ourselves, to others, and to animals. An original treatment of a timely subject, Food Philosophy is suitable for undergraduates while making a significant contribution to scholarly debates.

About the Author

David M. Kaplan is associate professor of philosophy at the University of North Texas, where he also directs the Philosophy of Food Project. He is editor of The Philosophy of Food (2012) and the Encyclopedia of Food and Agricultural Ethics, 2nd ed. (2019), among other works.