Food as art and against the right to do wrong.

Those were the topics of my two latest essays, which I just realised I should also probably note and share here. They can be accessed via my Academia page. I’m particularly proud of the aesthetics paper, but both scored much higher than my first assessed essay for this degree on the morality of deception in journalism. Here are the abstracts, anyway:

Here I defend the historically contentious claim that food can be aesthetic. I sketch four objections: the argument that food can’t be aesthetic because tastes are ephemeral, because food cannot induce contemplation, because tastes are indescribable or unjustifiable and because food has other purposes. I show that these presumed requirements are either met by food, or are implausible because ordinary aesthetic experiences do not meet them. I then defend the uncommon claim that chefs can be artists. I do this by arguing chefs intend food for aesthetic appreciation, and this suggests they are artists. I identify their artworks as abstract dishes. I also argue that because meat-eating is immoral, vegetarian chefs are greater artists than chefs who use meat. If my claims are correct, then Sibley is wrong to consider tastes to be minor aesthetic concerns. We should view and value great chefs the same way as Picasso and Mozart.

And:

Waldron argues that a right to do wrong is possible and it exists because of the value of autonomy. By a right, he means a claim right, so there is a duty to not interfere with wrongdoing. I argue that such a right is possible, but it does not exist. First, because such a right would condemn all laws. Second, because on a plausible consequentialist theory of rights, the right to do wrong is indefensible. Despite this, reasons are offered for non-interference in wrongdoing. I show how these reasons could explain why pornography and forms of lying and deception should not be interfered with. But maybe they should be. Since there is no right to do wrong, if these acts are wrong then interference could be justified. I argue against Dworkin’s right to moral independence. I suggest non-interference in some acts is best justified by denying that they are wrong.

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