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Social Philosophy Today

Volume 33, 2017

Power and Public Reason

Jeffrey M. Brown
Pages 217-224
DOI: 10.5840/socphiltoday20177748

Paternalism, Health and Dietary Choices
Commentary on Paul B. Thompson’s From Field To Fork: Food Ethics for Everyone

Paul B. Thompson’s From the Field to Fork: Food Ethics for Everyone explains the growing number of ways that food connects to ethical questions concerning our consumption, production, storage, and distribution of food. Although this book serves as an introduction to food ethics for non-experts, professionals in agricultural science and food production, food activists, and philosophers will have a lot to learn from Thompson’s insight, careful argumentation, and mastery of the economic, scientific, and political issues that ground our current debates about food. In my comments, I will first briefly provide an overview of Thompson’s thoughtful book. I will explain the methodology employed in this book and how his methodology applies to specific philosophical questions within food ethics. I will focus my commentary on how Thompson frames the ethics of diet and obesity. I will then raise a few questions concerning food choice and paternalism that were omitted from this book, but that I think raise substantial ethical concerns in affluent countries. I will close with a very brief comment on Thompson’s methodology.

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