Vol. 42 No. 1 (2022): Food and philosophy

Food purity between ethics and religion

Andrea Aguti
University of Urbino, Italy

Published 2022-06-28


  • food purity,
  • religion and food,
  • food ethics,
  • vegetarianism

How to Cite

Food purity between ethics and religion. (2022). Teoria. Rivista Di Filosofia, 42(1), 101-116. https://doi.org/10.4454/teoria.v42i1.147


The article argues that the attention (sometimes obsessive) given to food and the act of eating in contemporary Western societies as well as the spread of particular eating habits, like vegetarianism and veganism, have not to be understood simply as a search for physical and psychological health but as a search for a further dimension that can be generically defined as “spiritualâ€. However, being the term “spiritual†quite vague, the article focuses on the concept of purity, both in its religious and moral meaning. In a religious sense, purity is a means to enter into a relationship with divinity; in a moral sense, it is a way to reach self-care or self-governance. This latter sense has become predominant after modern secularization, but it was not completely separated from the first sense. The main thesis of the article is that the need for purity, involving social order, the meaning of life, and cultural identity, deeply touches human nature, even in the food sphere. In this view, vegetarianism, and veganism seem to be eating habits that satisfy the need for purity, whether they are motivated by religious or secular reasons or a combination of the two.