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The University of Southampton
Southampton Ethics Centre

'Food Policy, Nutritionism and Public Justification' Event

16:00 - 17:00
9 December 2015
Room 2007 Building 4 (Law) Highfield Campus University of Southampton

For more information regarding this event, please email Caroline Jones at .

Event details

This seminar is part of the HEAL Seminar Series.


In this paper I critically assess the nutritionist approach to food that underlies health-promoting food policies such as nudges, fat taxes and food bans. My central contention is that nutritionism is a controversial conception of the good which is not suitable for justifying health-promoting food policies in societies characterized by reasonable pluralism with regard to food and health. In the first part of the paper I illustrate the main features of nutritionism and critically assess its flaws in relation to the problem of public justification. In the second part of the paper I show how nudges, fat taxes and food bans are illegitimate since the rationale for them is ultimately grounded in nutritionism. I conclude by offering suggestions for alternative health-promoting food policies which can be publicly justified in view of the fact of reasonable pluralism.

Speaker information

Dr Matteo Bonotti,Cardiff University,Lecturer in Political Theory

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