Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 19 (3):679-693 (2016)

Abstract
Suppose that disgust can provide evidence of moral wrongdoing. What account of disgust might make sense of this? A recent and promising theory is the social contagion view, proposed by Alexandra Plakias. After criticizing both its descriptive and normative claims, I draw two conclusions. First, we should question the wisdom of drawing so straight a line from biological poisons and pathogens to social counterparts. Second, we don’t need to explain the evidential value of disgust by appealing to what the response tracks. These lessons point toward an alternative: namely, that disgust is a moral heuristic. On the heuristic view, disgust is a trigger for the subconscious use of a particular rule: I show how this view fits with a plausible hypothesis about the social function of disgust, and then apply it to Leon Kass’s famous use of repugnance to criticize cloning.
Keywords Disgust  Social contagion  Alexandra Plakias  Leon Kass  Moral heuristics
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DOI 10.1007/s10677-015-9673-6
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References found in this work BETA

Philosophical Explanations.Robert Nozick - 1981 - Harvard University Press.
Ethical Intuitionism.Michael Huemer - 2005 - Palgrave Macmillan.
Ethics and Intuitions.Peter Singer - 2005 - The Journal of Ethics 9 (3-4):331-352.

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Citations of this work BETA

I Eat, Therefore I Am: Disgust and the Intersection of Food and Identity.Daniel Kelly & Nicolae Morar - 2018 - In Tyler Doggett, Anne Barnhill & Mark Budolfson (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Food Ethics. Oxford University Press. pp. 637 - 657.

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