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The Ethics of Eating

Explore the ethical issues we confront every time we eat and purchase food. This course will give you the basic tools required to reflect clearly and effectively on the questions themselves. Join philosophers, food experts, and industry participants in this exciting discussion.

Cost: Free


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About this Course We all face difficult moral decisions on occasion. This course introduces students to the idea that we face such a decision several times a day in deciding what to eat. How should facts about animal life and death inform this decision? Is the suffering involved in meat, egg, and dairy production really bad enough to make the practices immoral? How do our dietary choices affect local and non-local economies, the environment, and other people generally? Finally, given the deep connections between eating practices and various ethnic, religious and class identities, how can we implement a reasonable food policy for an expanding world population while also respecting these important difference? The goal of this course is not to teach some preferred set of answers to these questions. The goal is rather to give participants the basic tools required to reflect clearly and effectively on the questions themselves. These tools include a working knowledge of the major moral theories developed by philosophers, and an understanding of basic empirical issues related to food production, distribution, and consumption. The course will be supplemented with interviews with leading food and animal scientists, philosophers, and farmers.


  • Days of the Week: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday
  • Level of Difficulty: Beginner
  • Size: Massive Open Online Course
  • Instructors: Adam Bendorf, William Starr, ​Andrew Chignell
  • Cost: Free
  • Institution: EdX

Provider Overview

About EdX: EdX offers interactive online classes and MOOCs from the world’s best universities. Topics include biology, business, chemistry, computer science, economics, finance, electronics, engineering, food and nutrition, history, humanities, law, literature, math, medicine, music, philosophy, physics, science, statistics and more. EdX is a non-profit online initiative created by founding partners Harvard and MIT.

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