Appetites for Thought: Philosophers and Food by Michel Onfray

By Michel Onfray

Appetites for proposal bargains up an impressive highbrow problem: do we higher comprehend the techniques of philosophers from their culinary offerings? Tracing the nutrients obsessions of philosophers from Diogenes to Sartre, Michel Onfray – a thinker himself – considers how their rules relate to their diets. might Diogenes were an opponent of civilization with no his style for uncooked octopus? may Rousseau were any such proponent of frugality if his day-by-day menu had integrated greater than dairy items? For Kant, the nostril and palate are organs of sensation with no the Aristocracy, as he writes, ‘the suggestion received from them is extra a illustration of pleasure than cognition of the exterior object.’ whereas for Nietzsche, ‘it is thru undesirable woman chefs – during the entire absence of cause within the kitchen, that the evolution of guy has been longest retarded and so much harmed.’ Sartre used to be famously repulsed via shellfish (not to say tomatoes) since it was once ‘food buried in an item, and you've got to pry it out’ – and likewise popular because the thinker who constructed a special notion of nausea.

Onfray courses us round the philosophers’ dinner party desk with erudition, wit and irreverence, supplying his personal philosophical riffs on whatever from fillet of cod, barley soup and sausages, to wine and occasional, in his personal critique of culinary cause. Appetites for idea will intrigue, galvanize and entertain in equivalent degree, in addition to make you crave a snack.

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Extra resources for Appetites for Thought: Philosophers and Food

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To Kant the problem is not as trivial as it might seem, since he devotes further pages to investigating the logical structure of human intemperance. In Part 2 of the very serious Metaphysics of Morals, the Doctrine of Virtue, Kant includes a section called ‘On Stupefying Oneself by Excessive Use of Food or Drink’. Here eating and drinking to excess are brought together – both are vices under the heading of a lack of respect for one’s duty to oneself: Brutish excess in the use of food and drink is misuse of the means of nourishment which restricts or exhausts our capacity to use them intelligently.

Next, Fourier poeticizes foodstuffs, rather than presenting historical fact, combining his personal mythology with the occult, a peculiar rationality with a celestial mechanism of attraction. Each fruit is the object of a natural and symbolic history, as well as a futurist and rhetorical one. 51 The blackberry is thus explained as the emblem of a pure and simple morality via a lyrical discourse on its brambles, its blackness, the alchemy of its colours, the logic of the tints, the Dionysian shoots.

This explains Fourier’s project of transforming the sea, when the social world reaches its culmination, into a huge expanse of lemonade. Harmonious truth is syrupy: ‘jam, sweetened cream, lemonade etc. . ’17 The cherubs will be brought up on a strict diet of 53 preserves and jams, composite and harmonious mixtures of sugar and fruit, products from the two cultural zones of the globe. The alimentary pedagogy directed towards children will be carried out in a systematic and reasoned way. From an early age, they will observe ‘gastronomic debates on culinary preparation’, then, in order to align theory with practice, they will eat.

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