CCHU9005 Arts and Humanities
Food is a fundamental aspect of human existence. This course examines philosophical issues about food and its relation to ethics, objectivity, and values. Topics include moral issues such as the debate about animal rights, world hunger, the use of genetic engineering in agriculture, and the justification of health policies about food and drugs. We shall also look at the relationship between food and art, and the objectivity of taste. The main objective of the course is to help students adopt new perspectives in thinking critically about what they might normally take for granted in their daily lives.
Course Learning Outcomes
On completing the course, students will be able to:
- Compare and contrast the various absolutist, relativist and contextualist positions about morality and values.
- Identify the critical factors to consider in moral evaluation and apply such knowledge in analyzing selected ethical problems related to food.
- Critically examine the nature of subjectivity in aesthetic and taste preferences and the possibility of objective evaluative standards, and demonstrate an awareness of their connections to moral reasoning.
- Use relevant research information related to the course to collaborate with others in presenting ideas creatively, clearly and systematically.
Offer Semester and Day of Teaching
First semester (Wed)
|Activities||Number of hours|
|Reading / Self-study||40|
|Assessment: Writing assignments||50|
|Assessment: Special project||30|
Assessment: 100% coursework
|Short writing assignments||70|
- Ethics – Animal ethics: Eating animals. London: BBC. From http://www.bbc.co.uk/ethics/animals/using/eating_1.shtml
- Excerpt from Mill’s Utilitarianism. From https://cchu9005.wordpress.com/mill/
- Fieser, J. (Ed.). (2008). Webpage of excerpts from articles on drugs from various sources. From http://www.utm.edu/staff/jfieser/class/160/3-drugs.htm (Last update in January 2012)
- Gracyk, T. (2011). Hume’s aesthetics. In E. N. Zalta (Ed.), The Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy (Winter 2011 ed.). Stanford: The Metaphysics Research Lab, Stanford University. From http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2011/entries/hume-aesthetics/ [Section 4]
- Kaplan, D. M. (Ed.). (2012). The philosophy of food. Berkeley: University of California Press. From http://www.food.unt.edu/philfood [Introduction]
- Lau, J. Y. F. (2011). An introduction to critical thinking and creativity. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons. [Chap. 18 (Sections 1, 2)]
- Palmer, A. (2014, June 28). Standard arguments for why it’s ok to eat meat and why they are much weaker than you think. Wrestling with Philosophy. From http://missiontotransition.blogspot.hk/2014/06/standard-arguments-for-why-its-ok-to.html
- Plato on the pleasure of eating. From https://cchu9005.wordpress.com/plato-on-the-pleasure-of-eating/
- Prinz, J. (2006). Really bad taste. In M. Kieran & D. McIver Lopes (Eds.), Knowing Art: Essays in aesthetics and epistemology (Philosophical Studies Series, Volume 107) (pp. 95-107). Germany: Springer Verlag.
- Singer, P. (1997). The drowning child and the expanding circle. New Internationalist, 289. From http://www.newint.org/issue289/drowning.htm
- Smith, B. (2007). The objectivity of tastes and tasting. In B. Smith (Ed.), Questons of taste: The philosophy of wine. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press. Also available from http://philpapers.org/rec/SMITOO-2
- The case for legalisation: Time for a puff of sanity. (2001, July 26) The Economist, 360(8232), 11-12. From http://www.economist.com/node/709603
- Telfer, E. (1996). Food as art. Food for thought: Philosophy and food (pp. 41-60). London: Routledge. [e-book version available through HKU library website]
- Warburton, N. (2013). Philosophy: The basics (5th ed.). Abingdon, Oxon; New York: Routledge. [Chap. 7]
- Whitman, D. B. (2000). Genetically modified foods: Harmful or helpful? Discovery Guides database. From http://www.csa.com/discoveryguides/gmfood/overview.php