Nov 192011

In Sunday’s Philosophy in Action Webcast (Nov 6th), I discussed giving away unhealthy food. The question was:

Is it immoral to give away food that you regard as unhealthy? Assuming that one believes (as I do) that candy and sweets are harmful to health (especially in quantity), is it immoral to participate in trick-or-treat by giving children candy when they come to your door? Or, is it immoral to “dispose” of an unwanted gift of, say, a rich chocolate cake by leaving it by the coffee machine at work to be quickly scarfed up by one’s co-workers (as an alternative to simply discarding it)? Is the morality of these two cases different because in one case the recipients are children while in the other case they are adults?

My answer, in brief:

If I give a person something, it’s because I value them. So I’d rather not give people something damaging, particularly if they’re oblivious to its dangers. Ultimately, however, people are going to make their own decisions about what to eat.

Here’s the video of my full answer:

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