Metaphilosophy 45 (2):270-287 (2014)

Ditte Marie Munch-Jurisic
University of Copenhagen
Most contemporary research on disgust can be divided into “disgust advocates” and “disgust skeptics.” The so-called advocates argue that disgust can have a positive influence on our moral judgment; skeptics warn that it can mislead us toward prejudice and discrimination. This article compares this disagreement to a structurally similar debate in the field of genocide studies concerning the phenomenon of “perpetrator abhorrence.” While some soldiers report having felt strong disgust in the moment of committing or witnessing atrocity, scholars disagree on whether such disgust is moral in nature. These empirical cases provide us with reasons to reconsider the normative features of disgust. Inspired by the conceptualization of disgust in Immanuel Kant and Aurel Kolnai, and as an alternative to both the disgust advocates and the skeptics, this article argues that the analogy of a stop sign can better help us define disgust responses
Keywords perpetrators  moral disgust  social psychology  disgust  war crimes  emotions  moral psychology  genocide  Aurel Kolnai  Immanuel Kant  moral philosophy
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DOI 10.1111/meta.12082
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