In The Hungry Soul we find an interesting blend of subjects, methods, and traditions. This book is a fascinating exploration of the cultural and natural act of eating. Kass intensely reveals how the various aspects of this phenomenon, restrictions, customs, and rituals surrounding it, relate to collective and philosophical truths about the human being and its deepest pleasures. Kass argues throughout the book that eating (dining) is something that can either cultivate us or moralize us. My question is, does Kass succeed in arguing for the fact that eating is something that can moralize us as human beings? Although I agree with some of the things that Kass discussed in the book, in this paper I will argue mainly against some of his claims.
Today, telling people what to eat seems to be the right thing to do now, huh? And telling people to eat whatever they want is seems to be extremely controversial. You know why I think it’s controversial? Not simply because we live in a culture that’s messed-up, foodwise, but because we, as a culture, seem to take the worse possible opinion of human nature. It should be no surprise to anyone that our society views food as a moral issue. Better yet, a possibly risky moral issue. Not to get too deep into the discussion of ethical and religious views on food, but in my opinion food isn’t moral. It’s not immoral, either. I would say it's morally neutral. Sadly, in today’s society, we live in a time and a place where ice cream is frowned upon. We tend to take the most pessimistic view of humans if they’re seen stuff their face with ice cream. Kass raised a controversial point in chapter 2 of his book, “The Human Form.” In it he gives us what he calls the "gap betwe...
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...t that many of these situations are fading. Increasingly, we resort to eating as a kind of automatic action, indulging in "fast food" or even eating while walking. One thing I believe Kass failed to realize was that the human body is very important. It urges us daily for the different pleasures in life. See Kass believes that we are stuck in a sense of informality of much that is current today. He writes, on the last page, "Recovering the deeper meaning of eating could help cure our spiritual anorexia. From it we can learn the essential unity of body and soul, and we can relearn the true relations to the formed world that the hungering soul makes possible” (Kass 231). My only question is, will we ever understand what it means to eat?
Kass, Leon. The Hungry Soul: Eating and the Perfecting of Our Nature. New York: Free Press ;, 1994. Print.
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