Are we personally at fault?

Donna Haraway argues that

“in eating, we are most inside the differential relationalities that make us who and what we are and that materialize what we must do if response and regard are to have any meaning personally and politically. There is no way to eat and not kill, no way to eat and not become with other mortal beings to whom we are accountable, no way to pretend innocence and transcendence or a final peace.”

As soon as we participate in society for example by purchasing food in the super market or going out to eat, we cannot individually, personally choose where our food comes from and all the ways it is enmeshed in causing harms.

Asking ourselves if we are personally at fault is the wrong question.

A better question to ask in what ways are we co-constituted with causing these harms?

We are embodied beings that are relationally constituted. This embodiment makes complex ethical implications unavoidable. That’s why in my research, I use Karan Barad’s frame of an ethico-onto-epistemology — an intertwining of ethics, knowing, and being. We are, as Alexis Shotewell puts it

“entangled with the world, and thus our ontology, our knowing relations, and our ethical orientation and practice are all invoked in action. Our being, following Barad, is entangled — and so how to be in relation to our entangled world is at stake”.