Megan Dean, the Truax Postdoctoral Fellow and Visiting Assistant Professor of Philosophy, recently presented “Food Ethics and Eating as a Self-Shaping Activity” at Illinois State University. The talk, part of ISU’s Philosophy Department Colloquium, stemmed from Dean’s central research project on the ethical importance of eating.
Dean argued that an important and often overlooked aspect of eating’s ethical importance is its role as a self-shaping activity. She said that “the ways we practice and understand eating can cultivate, reinforce, or undermine aspects of the self, including affects, capacities, and agency.
“The ways we eat, and are encouraged, discouraged, or prevented from eating by food policies or interventions, can have ethically significant effects on the self,” Dean said, noting that “debates over ‘healthist’ eating policies ignore the self-shaping role of eating, limiting and distorting these conversations.”
Dean contends that “to fully understand the ethical implications of these policies or any way of eating, we must include the effects of eating on selves alongside more traditional concerns about health, autonomy, and the value of eating experiences.”