cover of book

Philosophers at Table: On Food and Being Human
by Raymond D. Boisvert and Lisa Heldke
Reaktion Books, 2016
Paper: 978-1-78023-588-2 | eISBN: 978-1-78023-621-6

When you boil it down, one of the most important things we do each day is eat. The question of eating—what, and how—may seem simple at first, but it is dense with complex meanings, reflecting myriad roles that food plays and has played over the centuries. In fact, as Raymond D. Boisvert and Lisa Heldke show in this book, it’s difficult to imagine a more philosophically charged act than eating. Philosophers at Table explores the philosophical scaffolding that supports this crucial aspect of everyday life, showing that we are not just creatures with minds, but also with stomachs. 

Examining a cornucopia of literary works, myths, histories, and film—not to mention philosophical ideas—the authors make the case for a bona fide philosophy of food. They look at Babette’s Feast as an argument for hospitality as a central ethical virtue. They compare fast food in Accra to the molecular gastronomy of Spain as a way of considering the nature of food as art. And they bite into a slug—which is, unsurprisingly, completely gross—to explore tasting as a learning tool, a way of knowing. A surprising, original take on something we have not philosophically savored enough, Philosophers at Table invites readers to think in fresh ways about the simple and important act of eating. 

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