David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 16 (2):261-278 (2013)
Recent empirical studies have established that disgust plays a role in moral judgment. The normative significance of this discovery remains an object of philosophical contention, however; ‘disgust skeptics’ such as Martha Nussbaum have argued that disgust is a distorting influence on moral judgment and has no legitimate role to play in assessments of moral wrongness. I argue, pace Nussbaum, that disgust’s role in the moral domain parallels its role in the physical domain. Just as physical disgust tracks physical contamination and pollution, so moral disgust tracks social contamination. I begin by examining the arguments for skepticism about disgust and show that these arguments threaten to overgeneralize and lead to a widespread skepticism about the justifiability of our moral judgments. I then look at the positive arguments for according disgust a role in moral judgment, and suggest that disgust tracks invisible social contagions in much the same way as it tracks invisible physical contagions, thereby serving as a defense against the threat of socio-moral contamination.
|Keywords||Disgust Moral judgment Emotion Cognition|
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References found in this work BETA
Peter Singer (2005). Ethics and Intuitions. Journal of Ethics 9 (3-4):331 - 352.
Martha C. Nussbaum (2006). Hiding From Humanity: Disgust, Shame, and the Law. Princeton University Press.
Justin D'Arms & Daniel Jacobson (2000). The Moralistic Fallacy: On the ”Appropriateness' of Emotions. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 61 (1):65--90.
Citations of this work BETA
Joshua May (2014). Does Disgust Influence Moral Judgment? Australasian Journal of Philosophy 92 (1):125-141.
Dan Demetriou (2014). What Should Realists Say About Honor Cultures? Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 17 (5):893-911.
Christopher Freiman & Adam Lerner (forthcoming). Self-Ownership and Disgust: Why Compulsory Body Part Redistribution Gets Under Our Skin. Philosophical Studies:1-24.
Alberto Giubilini (forthcoming). What in the World is Moral Disgust? Australasian Journal of Philosophy:1-16.
Bryce Huebner (2015). Do Emotions Play a Constitutive Role in Moral Cognition? Topoi 34 (2):427-440.
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