• Two upcoming workshops at the Universities of Milan and Fribourg! More info here.
  • New research network members! More info here.

The Centre

The Culinary Mind is a European centre for the philosophy of food. Administratively based at the University of Milan, it is conceived as a genuine European platform which brings together researchers from all over the continent and beyond. It collaborates especially closely with the Universities of Fribourg and Geneva.

Its main aim is to lead research projects and organise academic workshops and public events. It also constitutes a European public resource on philosophical issues pertaining to food and food consumption available in several European languages (currently in: English, French, German, Italian, and Finnish).

Finally, it develops and maintains a vast research network in Europe and beyond. This network is mainly targeted at philosophers but also includes researchers in other disciplines such as cognitive science, psychology, history, sociology, geography, and anthropology.

The Philosophy of Food

Academic and public discourses on food and food consumption are now ubiquitous. The aim of the Culinary Mind is to contribute to this discussion by bringing a distinctly philosophical perspective.

So far, contemporary philosophy of food has been mainly concerned with ethical and political issues (e.g., “What should I eat?”, “How should we react to famine?”). While not ignoring these questions, the Culinary Mind focuses instead on more theoretical issues in theoretical philosophy of food such as:

  • What fixes the identity of a given food? What fixes the identity of special items, such as genetically modified foods, or foods protected by a geographical indication?
  • How to define and measure the biodiversity of edible organisms? What are the chief taxonomic junctures when it comes to edible organisms and how to adequately reflect them in a label?
  • What is a recipe? What is a culinary tradition? Who should have authority to shape these entities?
  • What are the main epistemological aspects of food consumption, and in particular, what is the role played by trust in the epistemology of food consumption and what role does the existence of food labels play in this respect?
  • What is the nature of the feelings and emotions traditionally associated with food, such as hunger, gustatory pleasure or nostalgia?
  • Can food be an art form? If so, what sort of art is the culinary art? In what ways does it reflect public and private interests? For instance, are restaurants a form of public art? Or, to what extent can a citizen’s diet be infringed upon by legal and political pressure? How to explain the political and social underpinnings of culinary art, as reflected for instance in gastro-diplomacy?

For further information or collaboration proposal, please get in touch with us: patrik.engisch (at) gmail (dot) com.