Argumenta – Journal of Analytic Philosophy

Metaphysics at the Table


Guest Editors:

Andrea Borghini (University of Milan)

Donatella Donati (University of L’Aquila)

Nicola Piras (University of Milan)

Invited Contributors:

Sara Bernstein (University of Notre Dame)

Shane Epting (Missouri University of Science and Technology)

Samantha Elaine Noll (Washington State University)

Helena Siipi (University of Turku)

Deadline for submission: March 15th, 2020

Notification of acceptance: April 30th, 2020

Description: Food is a central topic of a few areas of inquiry within the analytic philosophical tradition, such as ethics (e.g., Barnhill, Budolfson, and Doggett 2018), political and legal theory (e.g., Ceva and Bonotti 2016), aesthetics (e.g., Korsmeyer 2002), philosophy of science (e.g., Scrinis 2013). The attempts to study food within analytic metaphysics are instead more sparse (cf. Borghini 2015 and Siipi 2013 for some examples). And yet, as David Kaplan recalls (2015: 3-4), the philosophical community stands in need of better figuring out the very metaphysical nature of food for two main reasons: (i) it can shed a new light on the various notions of food, food security, food sovereignty hunger, intellectual property; and (ii) it can outline the general features of foods qua a social entities, commodities, or aesthetic objects. In addition, the metaphysics of food ought to take the role of clarifying the nature of food and its relation with the social reality and environment. As it turns out, the investigation of such relations is basically a foundation of a model that can be fruitfully employed even beyond the domain of the philosophical discourse. For instance, a new model can replace the controversial notion of “food as fuel” assumed by the 2030 Agenda of Sustainable Development (Pogge 2016) and strengthen its value as a social entity.

The aim of this special issue is to employ the tools of analytic metaphysics to understand what food is and what are its basic and general features. Possible topics for the special issue include:

The Social Ontology of Food: Can food be considered an artefact and, if so, is it a social entity? How does collective intentionality affect food’s nature?

Food Taxonomies: Foods are classified by origin, ingredients, method of preparation, social function, chemical composition, taste, etc. Is there a principled way to put order in this metaphysical jungle?

The Essential Properties of Food: Does food hold essential properties? For instance, are some foods essentially tied to a land, or to certain ingredients, or to a specific taste profile?

Food and Mereology: Under what circumstances some food, i.e., ingredients, compose a new food? What is the ontological relationship between a food and its ingredients? Do certain foods have non-extended parts, such as the time it took to prepare or age them?

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Articles must be written in English and should not exceed 8000 words.  For the presentation of their articles, authors are requested to take into account the instructions available under Information for Authors. Submissions must be suitable for blind review. Each submission should also include a brief abstract of no more than 250 words and four keywords for indexing purposes. To submit a paper, please visit this page.