Most religions advocate dietary regulations of some sort: Muslims fast during Ramadan, Jews follow kashrut laws, Catholics avoid meat on Fridays, many Hindus don’t eat beef, and some Buddhists and Jains avoid meat altogether. Such practices foster a sense of communal identity, but traditionally they are also regarded as pleasing to God (the gods, the ancestors, etc.) and spiritually beneficial. In other words, for many religious people, the effects of fasting go well beyond what is immediately observed or empirically measurable. That is often a large part of what motivates participation
Professor of Philosophy
New York University
"Can I Be Down?" Preparatory Conditions, Speech Communities, and Illocutionary Acts
Abstract: I outline a version of relativism about the normative force of reasons. Reasons are relative to a perspective, I argue, in a sense that is best elucidated by John Perry's work on "the essential indexical". My version of relativism rules out moral disagreement between occupants of different perspectives, but it is "reasonable" in the sense that it still allows them to disagree about how to live.
co-sponsored with PPE and the Philosophy Ethics Fund.