Food Choice as an Ethical Practice: Top-Down and Bottom-Up Approaches to a Possible Synthesis


  • Teresa Caporale University of Naples



Food Ethics, Top-down approach, Bottom-up approach, Feuerbach


Food, reflecting individual and collective ethical choices, is the focus of this essay, which explores the profound interrelationship between food practices and the moral principles that govern them. Beginning with Feuerbach’s maxim ‘Man is what he eats,’ the essay explores the complex relationship between diet, ethics, and philosophy, showing how every food decision is inextricably linked to ethical, social, and environmental considerations. It explores the transformation of the concept of ‘food’ from a mere dietary choice to an expression of a conscious lifestyle. It shows how everyone’s food choices reflect and influence our interaction with the world. Through historical and contemporary analysis, the multiple dimensions of diet are explored: from responsibility towards undernourished people to environmental sustainability, from the debate on omnivorism to the promotion of ethical diets such as vegetarianism and veganism. The exposition is then articulated through two dominant ethical currents: the top-down approach, based on universal principles, and the bottom-up approach, which emphasizes the importance of virtues and values in the specific context of food. The essay not only brings these perspectives into dialogue
but also invites critical reflection on the role of food in defining human identity and morality, underlining the urgency of a global ethical commitment that reconciles personal needs with collective and environmental ones.


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How to Cite

Food Choice as an Ethical Practice: Top-Down and Bottom-Up Approaches to a Possible Synthesis. (2024). Journal of Ethics and Emerging Technologies, 34(1), 1-15.

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