What Was in Plato’s Kitchen? June 6, 2007Posted by Dwight Furrow in Ethics, Food and Drink, Philosophy.
According to Plato, taking pleasure in food is the enemy of philosophy and of culture–a hindrance to reason.
“In order then that disease might not quickly destroy us, and lest our mortal race should perish without fulfilling its end–intending to provide against this, the gods made what is called the lower belly, to be a receptacle for the superfluous meat and drink, and formed the convolution of the bowels, so that the food might be prevented from passing quickly through and compelling the body to require more food, thus producing insatiable gluttony and making the whole race an enemy to philosophy and culture, and rebellious against the divinest element within us.” (Timaeus, 72e-73a)
But, as this article from the Columbia Journalism Review makes clear, food and its pleasures influence almost every aspect of life–economics, the environment, ethical choices, not to mention the aesthetics of everyday life. There is ample food for thought here.
So what must have been in Plato’s kitchen that gave him such a fright? A bad hunk of lamb? A wayward bottle of retzina encountered at a tender age? Perhaps a forbidden slave girl that got him into trouble?
Philosophy is the occasion for endless speculation.