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Korsmeyer, Carolyn, , . Making Sense of Taste: Food and Philosophy
1999, Cornell University Press.
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Added by: Chris Blake-Turner, Contributed by: Christy Mag Uidhir

Publisher’s Note: Taste, perhaps the most intimate of the five senses, has traditionally been considered beneath the concern of philosophy, too bound to the body, too personal and idiosyncratic. Yet, in addition to providing physical pleasure, eating and drinking bear symbolic and aesthetic value in human experience, and they continually inspire writers and artists.In Making Sense of Taste, Carolyn Korsmeyer explains how taste came to occupy so low a place in the hierarchy of senses and why it is deserving of greater philosophical respect and attention. Korsmeyer begins with the Greek thinkers who classified taste as an inferior, bodily sense; she then traces the parallels between notions of aesthetic and gustatory taste that were explored in the formation of modern aesthetic theories. She presents scientific views of how taste actually works and identifies multiple components of taste experiences.
Turning to taste’s objects?food and drink?she looks at the different meanings they convey in art and literature as well as in ordinary human life and proposes an approach to the aesthetic value of taste that recognizes the representational and expressive roles of food. Korsmeyer’s consideration of art encompasses works that employ food in contexts sacred and profane, that seek to whet the appetite and to keep it at bay; her selection of literary vignettes ranges from narratives of macabre devouring to stories of communities forged by shared eating.

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Van Dyke, Christina, , . Eating as a Gendered Act: Christianity, Feminism, and Reclaiming the Body
2008, in K. J. Clark (ed.) Readings in the Philosophy of Religion, Second Edition. Peterborough: Broadview Press: 475-489.
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Added by: Emily Paul, Contributed by:

Abstract: In current society, eating is most definitely a gendered act: that is, what we eat and how we eat it factors in both the construction and the performance of gender. Furthermore, eating is a gendered act with consequences that go far beyond whether one orders a steak or a salad for dinner. In the first half of this paper, I identify the dominant myths surrounding both female and male eating, and I show that those myths contribute in important ways to cultural constructions of male and female appetites more generally speaking. In the second half, I argue that the Christian church should share feminism’s perception of these current cultural myths as fundamentally disordered, and I claim that the Christian traditions of fasting and feasting present us with a concrete means to counter those damaging conceptions and reclaim a healthy attitude toward our hunger.

Comment: A great reading for a feminist philosophy of religion course, or alternatively for a general philosophy of religion course as a way to introduce feminist philosophy of religion – this text could also be a further reading for the latter. I think that this reading would incite a great deal of interest, and provoke fruitful discussion. Would be potentially even more useful for a course on religious aesthetics.

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