Friday, January 15, 2010

Wine Is Made of Yeast and Grapes, Right?

A bleg: I have a student in a philosophy of biology class who is about to transfer into a wine-making program. The course requires an essay or short research paper on a topic of the student's choosing. She'd like to write about wine. I'm open-minded and can see a connection: wine is made of grapes and yeast, chemically transformed and perceived by our senses in concert with complex emotional and cognitive machinery.

Any suggestions for specific questions she could take up or references she could look to?


Matthew J. Brown said...

Maybe this is pitched at the wrong level, but there is a book on Wine and Philosophy.

Seems to me like the most interesting philosophy problems about wine have to do with tasting and the philosophy of perception. (If you find that sort of thing interesting!)

Bret B said...

Philosophy Bites - - did a segment on philosophy and wine. It might be worth a look, if nothing else.

Paul B Thompson said...

For a philosophy of biotechnology class, I would steer your student to a topic like, is there a biological basis for objecting to the use of genetic engineering to address disease problems in grapes? There is a fair amount of pretty good philosophical work done on transgenics (though not much I'm aware of that's specifically on grapes). Type 'ethics' and 'agriculture biotechnology' into Google scholar and quite a bit will come up.

Paul B Thompson said...

I mean 'philosophy of biology'. There can't be more than a couple of us who teach philosophy of biotechnology.

Stephen Cowley said...

How about:
I Drink Therefore I Am: A Philosopher’s Guide to Wine.
(Roger Scruton, Continuum.)
I can't say I've read it, but it had a good review and he typically writes well while putting across his own standpoint.