The Taste of Mustard

Mustard - image by


You may be asking yourself exactly what mustard has to do with philosophy, and you’re probably not alone. However, I ask that you try a little experiment with me first, and then we’ll come back to that question.


Grab some pretzels, or if you’re really brave – just a spoon, along with whatever yellow mustard you might have on hand. Now, using your preferred tool, take a taste of the mustard and try to really experience what it is that you’re tasting. As you do this, I want you to come up with a one word description of exactly what that taste is. Got it? Don’t move on until you’ve jotted down your own one word description.


When I do this activity in class, there are always a wide variety of answers! I’m always surprised by just how wide of a variety I get. Now we can return to what this has to do with philosophy. Just as many people experience the taste of mustard very differently, we all experiences of life can be just as different, and this leads to a wide variety of ideas about life – the way to live life, what life is, the world we live in, etc. Not only is it ok that there is such a wide variety, but we can benefit from learning about and understanding these different perspectives.

When we’re doing philosophy, let’s do our best to approach it with that understanding of views that are different than our own.

Let us know in the comments what one word you would use to describe mustard!


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