This year, rather than pretending to objectivity by doing a “best-of” list, I’m offering a flatly subjective selection: These are the food stories that were so good it hurt me a little bit, because I wished I’d done them. In addition, rather than just making a list of stories for you to feel guilty about not reading, I’ll summarize the key points here for you here. Read this, then proceed into 2016 unburdened — although most of these are a pure pleasure and will beguile you if you give them a chance.

Cheeseburger Ethics (Eric Schwitzgebel, Aeon)


Some 60 percent of academic ethicists think eating meat is a bad thing, versus 19 percent of non-philosophy professors. And yet when researchers asked these same people if they had eaten meat in the last week, there was no difference in the percentages that answered yes. Philosophy doesn’t seem to change the behavior of its practitioners, and so, this essay asks, can philosophy change anything?

Schwitzgebel argues that it can, or at least that it should. Truly committing to act on philosophical thinking is terrifying because it can lead us to frightening conclusions. If could lead you, like Socrates, to the conclusion that you should honor the wishes of an angry mob that wants you dead, and commit suicide. Schwitzgebel thinks we need to embrace this frightening power.