Good Food and the Good Life

How ancient philosophy can help us cultivate an excellent relationship with food

Online workshop (on Google Hangouts), Tuesday 14th April 2020, 7.30 – 9.00 pm (Irish time). The workshop is free but places are limited. Please email to register.

What does it mean to eat well? Is it just a matter of meeting your body’s nutritional needs, or is there more to it than that? This workshop invites you to reflect on your relationship to food — what it is and what you would like it to be. We will consider this question using ideas from Plato and Aristotle.

Surely our first and greatest need is to provide food to sustain life.

Plato, Republic 369d

First, we will look at part of Plato’s Republic, in which Socrates compares the human soul to a city, and gives some warnings about what happens when appetites run amok. Then, we will look at Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, and see how it is possible to build good habits which bring us closer to a happy, flourishing life. For Plato and Aristotle, philosophy was not just a school subject; it was meant to help us understand and achieve the good life. You might be surprised just how well these philosophers capture the eternal challenges and joys of being human, not least with respect to food. After all, whether you’re working in customer service or inventing metaphysics, you need to eat.

Please note this is not a nutrition or dietetics workshop. I am not a dietitian and I don’t know what you should eat! This workshop is about how philosophy can help you figure out how you would like to eat!

Image credit: Olives from Jordan by Nick Fraser CC BY-SA 3.0,