Encyclopedia of Food and Agricultural Ethics

2014 Edition
| Editors: Paul B. Thompson, David M. Kaplan

Derrida and Eating

  • Kelly OliverEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-0929-4_283


Hospitality and food; Meat: ethical considerations


Jacques Derrida makes an analogy between eating other beings or substances and assimilating others’ values and ideals. He makes a distinction between assimilating others – whether food or other people – in ways that nourish and ways that conquer them as trophies. Through this analogy, Derrida is concerned to develop an ethics that respects one’s differences from others while acknowledging that one needs to eat or assimilate others in order to live. He makes a connection regarding what is good to eat in both physical and moral senses.

What Is Good to Eat?

In the interview “Eating Well,” Derrida wonders whether a head of state (chef d’Etat) could gain office by declaring him (or herself) a vegetarian and concludes, “the chief (chef) must be an eater of flesh” (Derrida 1991, p. 114). In the United States, political leaders are often seen hunting, particularly bird hunting, which seems to demonstrate their manly...
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyVanderbilt UniversityNashvilleUSA