Encyclopedia of Food and Agricultural Ethics

2019 Edition
| Editors: David M. Kaplan

Waste and Food

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-024-1179-9_26



The necessity of food for human survival grounds our prudential and our ethical interest in its not going to waste. Given our undeniable need for the nutrition food provides, it seems both irrational and irresponsible to fail to make good use of it before it perishes.

However, such certainty about our need for food hardly makes our relation to it, or to the wasting of it, clear and uncomplicated. As feasts, for example, remind us, the significance of food in our lives is not limited to the satisfaction of basic biological need. And when food is not being used simply or only to still hunger, questions about whether it is being wasted do not have obvious answers. Moreover, “waste” has several meanings. The seventeenth-century English philosopher John Locke, for example, assumed as a matter of course that both letting food spoil and failing to cultivate the earth in order to grow food constitute...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Philosophy, Smith CollegeNorthamptonUSA