Dissertation Defense: Megan Dean
Candidate Name: Megan Dean
Advisor: Rebecca Kukla, Ph.D.
Title: Eating as a Self-Shaping Activity
My dissertation offers a new account of eating as a self-shaping activity. I argue that the ways we understand and practice eating shape our agency, affects, capacities, values, temporality, and other important aspects of the self. Moreover, eating can shape the self in good or bad ways. To develop this account, I analyze and critique the view that good eating is healthy eating, and good eaters eat for health above all else. I contend that current bioethical critiques of such ‘healthism’ do not account for the self-shaping effects of eating and so lack a complete analysis of healthism’s ethical import. Through an extended critique of diet research on eating disorders and vegetarianism, I also show how understanding eating as a self-shaping activity helps us make ethically-informed choices about how to understand and characterize eating. This work draws attention to overlooked aspects of the ethical importance of eating, and develops conceptual tools for analyzing the effects of eating on the self that can be deployed in a variety of contexts including food ethics, clinical ethics, diet research, and public conversations about eating.
Friday, April 5, 2019 at 12:00pm to 2:00pm
New North, 204
37th and O St., N.W., Washington