# A proof that soup is a snack

A question that has occupied many botherers of the meal–snack distinction concerns the placement of soup: can soup, taken alone, constitute a meal, or is it at best a snack? The following represents an attempt to decide the issue, based on minimal assumptions.

**Assumption 1:** Necessarily, for all x, if x is such that, were x part of a meal, then it would be at most a proper part of the meal, then x is not a meal.

**Assumption 2:** Necessarily, for all x, if x is food, then it is either a snack or a meal.

**Assumption 3:** Necessarily, for all x, if x is soup, then x is food.

**Assumption 4:** Necessarily, for all x, if x is soup, then were x part of a meal, then it would be at most a proper part of the meal.

Plausibly, it follows from the four assumptions that necessarily, if x is soup, then x is a snack. The putative deduction might be challenged by defenders of modal logics far weaker than S5, or by defenders of some forms of non-classical logic. Assumption 3 might also be challenged by so-called deviant food classifiers, according to whom soup is a *drink* rather than food. However, I believe that what is presented here will be acknowledged as a proof by all orthodox theorists.

Aidan McGlynn observed that assumption 2 looks too strong, since in conjunction with other assumptions, it would entail that every proper part of a meal is a snack. The assumption should be revised thus:

Assumption 3: Necessarily, for all x, if x is food, then x is a meal, or x is a snack, or x is merely a proper part of a meal.

Consequent adjustments must then be made elsewhere, to ensure that what is at issue is the status of soup when taken outside the confines of a meal.

James Andow observed that assumptions 1 and 4 need to be fixed. I think a first approximation to a fix is that they should appeal to the property of being such that, were it part of a meal, it would be a proper part of a meal.

Soup is not the issue. Amuse bouche is the issue.

I was hoping that, for the immediate purposes of evaluating the purported proof, I could avoid political issues. Perhaps my hope was utopian.

Why is a snack supposed not to be a meal? You only need to a sufficient amount of it.

Thanks. I think that sufficient quantities of what, in lesser quantities, would be a snack would cease to be a snack and would be replaced by (or become) a meal. Conversely, insufficient quantities of what, in greater quantities, would be a meal would cease to be a meal and be replaced by (or become) a snack. Except for soup.

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