Rowman and Littlefield International

The Aesthetics of Food

The Philosophical Debate About What We Eat and Drink

By Kevin W. Sweeney

Publication Date: Dec 2017

Pages 208

Hardback 9781783487424
£80.00 €112.00 $120.00
Paperback 9781783487431
£24.95 €34.95 $39.95
Ebook 9781783487448
£24.95 €34.99 $39.99
Not available for pre-order
The Aesthetics of Food sets out the continuing philosophical debate about the aesthetic nature of food. The debate begins with Plato’s claim that only objects of sight and hearing could be beautiful; consequently, food as something we smell and taste could not be beautiful. Plato’s sceptical position has been both supported and opposed in one form or another throughout the ages. This book demonstrates how the current debate has evolved and critically assesses that debate, showing how it has been influenced by the changing nature of critical theory and changes in art historical paradigms (Expressionism, Modernism, and Post-modernism), as well as by recent advances in neuroscience. It also traces changes in our understanding of the sensory experience of food and drink, from viewing taste as a simple single sense to current views on its complex multi-sensory nature. Particular attention is paid to recent philosophical discussion about wine: whether an interest in a wine reflects only a subjective or personal preference or whether one can make objective judgments about the quality and merit of a wine. Finally, the book explores how the debate has been informed by changes in the cooking, presenting, and consuming of food, for example by the appearance of the restaurant in the early nineteenth century as well as the rise of celebrity chefs.
1. The Aesthetics of Food: Cuisine and Taste / 2. Taste in Antiquity: Plato’s Rejection of Food / 3. Aristotelian and Roman Views on Taste / 4. Medieval and Renaissance Views on Food / 5. Critical Taste in the Enlightenment / 6. Kant and Brillat-Savarin on Taste / 7. Creating and Tasting: Can Fine Food be Fine Art? / 8. Tasting Wine / 9. The Philosophical Debate about the Aesthetics of Food / Bibliography
In this welcome addition to the growing philosophical scholarship on food and drink, Kevin Sweeney situates the subject historically and within a context of art theory that is often overlooked. His careful analysis of the aesthetic standing of taste and the artistic claims for cuisine displays a sophisticated acquaintance with gastronomic culture as well as analytical acumen. The book will be read with interest by student and scholar alike.
Carolyn Korsmeyer, Professor of Philosophy, University of Buffalo
Kevin W. Sweeney is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Tampa.

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