Abstract

An argument is made for Leibniz as our first modern food philosopher. This is based on his theory of cognition or perception and culinary examples he used in the New Essays on Human Understanding. This view is contrasted with Locke and Hume’s accounts of perception. Their atomistic approach proves to be woefully inadequate for food products like sauces, whereas Leibniz’s view gives us an account of them. All agree that food products like sauces are complex ideas, but Locke and Hume try to argue that they are made up of simple ideas or impressions that are clear and distinct. “Simple” for Leibniz is an abstraction, and perceptions cannot be separated out from ideas, so complexity is more easily achieved in his scheme of things. In the end, he has a more adequate view of food products.

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