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Culinary Mind - Centre for the Philosophy of Food  

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The Centre

We are a research centre and network of academics, chefs, food writers and other individuals whose work relates to philosophy of food. The centre was founded in 2017 and is based at University of Milan, with members in various countries all over the world. Our aim is to promote philosophical thinking on food-related topics in the form of research, publications, conferences, and other events.

For further information or collaboration proposals, please get in touch: 
info@culinarymind.org

https://culinarymind.org

Or contact the director Andrea Borghini:
andrea.borghini@unimi.it

Philosophy of Food

Public discourses on food, eating and cooking are everywhere, but what is missing is a philosophical perspective. On the other hand, academic philosophy has mostly ignored questions related to food and eating except as regards the ethical and political issues. Culinary Mind aims to fulfil these gaps by contributing to public discourses on food from the philosophical point of view, and by focusing on philosophical issues related to food from the point of view of metaphysics, philosophy of mind, language, perception, aesthetics, and epistemology.

So what is philosophy of food?

Here are some examples of questions that interest us: 

  • What fixes the identity of a given food? What fixes the identity of special items, such as genetically modified foods, or foods protected by a geographical indication?
  • How to define and measure the biodiversity of edible organisms? What are the chief taxonomic junctures when it comes to edible organisms and how to adequately reflect them in a label?
  • What is a recipe? What is a culinary tradition? Who should have authority to shape these entities?
  • What are the main epistemological aspects of food consumption, and in particular, what is the role played by trust in the epistemology of food consumption and what role does the existence of food labels play in this respect?
  • What is the nature of the feelings and emotions traditionally associated with food, such as hunger, gustatory pleasure or nostalgia?
  • Can food be an art form? If so, what sort of art is the culinary art? In what ways does it reflect public and private interests? For instance, are restaurants a form of public art? Or, to what extent can a citizen’s diet be infringed upon by legal and political pressure? How to explain the political and social underpinnings of culinary art, as reflected for instance in gastro-diplomacy?

Half- Backed. Philosophy of Food Seminars  

Half- Backed Logo

Half-Baked seminars are dedicated to the Philosophy of Food.

Coordinator: Prof. Andrea Borghini

Organizers: Nicola Piras and Beatrice Serini.

Info: nicola.piras@unimi.it

Online Colloquia Series Fall 2020

October 16 - MEGAN DEAN - Michigan State University (USA)
Big fat liars, sneaky dieters, and factitious allergies : on distrust and eating

October 30 - MATTHEW ADAMS - Indiana University Bloomington (USA)
Using healty food to ameliorate injustice

November 20 - PATRIK ENGISCH - University of Lucern (Switzerland)
Modelling culinary value

December 11- ALISON SUEN -Iona College (USA)
Ethical dining in the age of the pandemic


On Fryday 2.30 Pm Gmc.+1

Use the ID to join the meeting through the free Zoom App: Meeting ID: 960 55811990

OR follow the link and connect with Zoom Web:

https://zoom us/j/96055811990

For more information contact: andrea.borghini@unimi.it
www.culinarymind.org
or facebook com/culinarymind

 

5 febbraio 2020: Food and Ideological Extremism. Philosophical and Empirical Dimensions

Workshop. Food production, distribution and consumption are deeply intertwined with social, cultural and political identities. While most of these identities, and the dietary habits associated with them, belong to the social, cultural and political mainstream (broadly understood), others reflect extremist ideological positions, i.e. positions located outside the mainstream and characterized by simplistic, overconfident and intolerant attitudes. For example, meat-free and vegan diets, often associated with progressive left-wing political orientations, have often been embraced, in the past and more recently, by far-right political movements as a key way of expressing their extremist political identity and ideology. Another example of the connection between food and extremism are vegan or animal rights movements that engage in extremist and/or violent acts. This workshop will provide a forum for the discussion of these and other related issues concerning the relationship between food and extremism. POLITEIA Library, Università degli Studi di Milano, Via Festa del Perdono 7, Milano.

4-5 dicembre 2018: Framing Recipes: Identity, Relationships, Norms

Conference organized by Andrea Borghini & Francesca Mastrovito for Culinary Mind - Centre for the Philosophy of Food. This inaugural conference of the Culinary Mind Network, is devoted to the study of recipes from a philosophical perspective. The conference brings together a strong and assorted cohort of scholars and experts (e.g. cooks, writers) on recipes, with a primary philosophical focus. Aula Crociera Alta di Studi Umanistici.

16 novembre 2018: Understanding Hunger. Two Philosophical Workshops

Second Workshop. Hunger, understood in a broad sense, is a primary mode of being. We are born hungry. We have been hungry well longer than we can remember being alive and well before gaining self-consciousness of our own pleasures. Each human, qua human, is endowed with an array of physiological and psychological states correlated with the act of eating; the satisfaction of hunger is one of the most complex and important ecological relationships in which we partake. Despite its centrality to the human condition, the philosophical investigation of hunger is scarce, marginal, and fragmented. A study of hunger contributes to at least three major themes of philosophical relevance. (1) Hunger is arguably the most important concept in the study of malnutrition, undernutrition, and famine. A study of hunger is hence a crucial step towards framing philosophical questions pertaining to the ethics and politics of food access and dieting. (2) Hunger can also be approached from an existential point of view, as a defining aspect of the human condition. Through this lens, hunger raises little-explored philosophical difficulties. For instance, what sort of state is hunger – e.g. is it a perception, an emotion, a mood, none of these or all of these? What is the relationship between hunger, desire, and pleasure? (3) Finally, an appreciation of the complex facets of hunger is relevant in high-end gastronomy and makes a difference to the aesthetic value of a dining experience.

12 ottobre 2018: Understanding Hunger. Two Philosophical Workshops

First Workshop. Hunger, understood in a broad sense, is a primary mode of being. We are born hungry. We have been hungry well longer than we can remember being alive and well before gaining self-consciousness of our own pleasures. Each human, qua human, is endowed with an array of physiological and psychological states correlated with the act of eating; the satisfaction of hunger is one of the most complex and important ecological relationships in which we partake. Despite its centrality to the human condition, the philosophical investigation of hunger is scarce, marginal, and fragmented. A study of hunger contributes to at least three major themes of philosophical relevance. (1) Hunger is arguably the most important concept in the study of malnutrition, undernutrition, and famine. A study of hunger is hence a crucial step towards framing philosophical questions pertaining to the ethics and politics of food access and dieting. (2) Hunger can also be approached from an existential point of view, as a defining aspect of the human condition. Through this lens, hunger raises little-explored philosophical difficulties. For instance, what sort of state is hunger – e.g. is it a perception, an emotion, a mood, none of these or all of these? What is the relationship between hunger, desire, and pleasure? (3) Finally, an appreciation of the complex facets of hunger is relevant in high-end gastronomy and makes a difference to the aesthetic value of a dining experience.

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