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Talking books

This page collects together some of my recent podcasts and interviews, mostly dedicated to the subject of FOOD.

Starting with a chat with Rodger at Farm To Table Talk

Food Philosophies

We hear of new philosophies about food but what about the ancient philosophies. Jean Jacque Rousseau said "Give me milk, vegetables, eggs, and brown bread, with tolerable wine and I shall always think myself sumptuously regaled.” And Plato seems to be the originator of today's very popular Mediterranean Diet. Henry David Thoreau's simple rows of beans beside his famous pond inspires foodies yet today. Host Rodger Wasson talks to me about my book, "I Think Therefore I Eat" and we look back through the centuries at the opinions and food choices of the world's greatest minds, who may help us tackle today's food questions. In this conversation we start with what it's like to be a writer, living (and eating) in the South of France then dive in to the food experiences and perspectives of the greatest philosophers of all time.

The Brain Candy Podcast is ‘Candy for Your Left Brain and Your Right Brain’, and that was certainly the case for me when I had the great pleasure of chatting with recovering reality TV star Susie Meister, one half of the Brain Candy team with Sarah Rice. Susie and Sarah are used to getting their wheels turning in the worlds of pop culture, literature, science, and psychology, so a bit of food science was easy stuff.

It’s an hour long show, all great fun, but if you’re in a hurry, I’m on for the second half of it.

Does It Work? A Health and Wellness Podcast

For example, does FASTING work? A great chat with Cathy Reisenwitz which can be listened to here as ‘Ep 9: The Philosophy of Food with Martin Cohen’. Cathy says:

‘In this episode we discuss what we can we learn from Silicon Valley experiments like Soylent, how to avoid the complex chemical additions to foods that seem (and should be) simple, like bread, whether free-market fundamentals are at odds with health and wellness when it comes to Big Agriculture, the international efforts to promote the health benefits of a vegan diet, what got Martin interested in food, grazing vs intermittent fasting, the logical fallacy of the “Appeal to nature," whether GMO food is good or bad, the interaction between body weight and emotional well-being and whether fat-shaming works to help people lose weight, putting excrement in bread and distributing it to German townspeople, and how to avoid ingesting plastic by eating organic and unprocessed food.  Before reading this book, I had no idea how much philosophers had to say about food!’

Some readers may like to read about - but they won’t be able to not listen to this time! - a very interesting conversation  I had with Malcolm Jolly for the Good Food Revolution. Malcolm and I discuss, amongst many things, France and its particular place in the philosophy of food.

Says the G&T website, ‘Someone once observed that if Howard Stern and Krista Tippett had a love child, it would be Scott Jones’. Add to which Scott keeps not one but two pit bulls. Fortunately, he kept himself on a short lease during our chat.

‘Doctors and nutritionists often disagree with each other, while celebrities and scientists keep pitching us new recipes and special diets. No one thought to ask the philosophers—those rational souls devoted to truth, ethics, and reason—what they think. Until now.

Kathryn Zox is host on, considered one of the leaders in Internet Media. Here, in an episode entitled ‘Food Thought’ Kathryn interviews me, partly as a philosopher, but mostly as author of I Think, Therefore I Eat: The World’s Greatest Minds Tackle the Food Question. She starts off by asking whether, given that we spend so much time and money on food, if we spend enough thought on food? Do we have the tools to be skeptical of the latest diet fad? Or to challenge things like the FDA (the Foods and Drugs Administration) over the decisions it makes on our behalf? Do we even say there must be something wrong with cheese that has an expiration date eitght months from now!

‘Everyday we are bombarded by expert opinions... ’.

Actually, this is a different book - Paradigm Shift - and a more general look at ‘bad science’ but I thought I’d add it in to the mix as a question a lot of the food shows asked was ‘what got me started on food issues anyway’. And it was this book that swept across the whole history of science and found, again and again, the same story of apparently pristine science being constructed from a mix of vested interests, skewed experiments and rigid dogmas. You can find out more about the bigger picture, here.

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What are the 4 Principles of Critical Thinking? Critical thinking and Philosophy In November 2018 I had the pleasure of chatting with Michael Frank about the ‘ingredients of the critical thinker’. (I’m not saying I have them all, mind!) Here's a bit of what we said:

Michael: If you were to build the perfect critical thinker in a lab, what habits or what qualities would they have?

Martin: Well, I recommend four principles. The first one is surely the most important!
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