It's typically used in an attempt to convince people to switch to a healthy diet but in my opinion it does a very poor job because:

  • no-one literally lives to eat, but it's one of the many small pleasures of life that make it enjoyable - false premise

  • everyone eats to live - a truism

To me, this catchphrase suggest that one should view food as mere sustenance and nothing more and therefore it's bound to embitter rather than persuade, especially when it's aimed at people who have a poor diet.

I believe there is a name for this type of fallacy.

  • 5
    Something can't be a fallacy unless it's used in an argument; I don't see an argument here, just a pair of statements (there's no claim of inference). Jan 24 '20 at 18:59
  • @Noah Schweber: It's typically used to convince people to switch to a healthy diet. I thought it's a very popular catchphrase. Thing is no-one lives to eat unless they're mentally ill, while most people enjoy eating tasty food. IMO it's a very obvious fallacy.
    – Guest
    Jan 24 '20 at 19:05
  • 1
    Hello guest -- this site is primarily for people to gain a better understanding of philosophy questions. You have posed a "philosophy" question, but the answer to it is actually grammatical not philosophical, as you have not posed an argument, hence cannot have presented a fallacy. If you present a better structured question, then you may get an actually philosophic answer.
    – Dcleve
    Jan 25 '20 at 3:19
  • Also there's a little moral superiority involved. "Oh I'm not a glutton, I don't derive pleasure from food" etc.Essentially a Puritan stance.
    – user4894
    Jan 25 '20 at 21:19
  • What @user4894 said. While I've heard/read the remark before, I have seldon considered it's use to be an attempt at persuasion; it is more often stated as an expression of superiority.
    – Uueerdo
    Jan 27 '20 at 20:11

It's not a fallacy, it's an adage.

"I don't live to eat, I eat to live"

The intent is:

"I'm consuming because I need to, not for frivolous (unneeded / personal) reasons"

Normally, this adage is applied to hunting or meat consumption in the United States (as far as I'm aware.) But, I've heard it applied to other aspects of buying things - like a car.

Taken literally... It's a propositional fallacy (affirming the consequent):

if A, then B; B, therefore A

You have to eat to live, but "live" has a broader connotation in the predicate than it does in the conclusion. "Live" in the predicate, indicates a set of states outside of just pure survival. "Live" in the conclusion is very strictly interpreted as either being alive or dead.

  • I looked it up and it was coined by Socrates. It sounds like something a philosopher would say :) To repeat my comment above, it's typically used in an attempt to convince people to switch to a healthy diet but no-one literally lives to eat while most people enjoy eating tasty food, it's one of the many joys of life.
    – Guest
    Jan 24 '20 at 19:09

This question might be referring to the converse of a statement. The converse does not necessarily have the same truth value as the original.

Start with “If P then Q”. The converse reverses the two terms: “If Q then P”.

Here, “If I live, then my purpose will be to eat.” The second statement is the converse: “If I eat, then my purpose will be to live.”

I do not see a fallacy. In this example, both statements could be true. There is consistency between them, but one does not necessarily follow from the other.

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