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|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
References found in this work BETA
Hiding From Humanity: Disgust, Shame, and the Law.Martha C. Nussbaum - 2006 - Princeton University Press.
Yuck!: The Nature and Moral Significance of Disgust.Daniel Kelly - 2011 - Bradford.
The Moralistic Fallacy: On the ”Appropriateness' of Emotions.Justin D'Arms & Daniel Jacobson - 2000 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 61 (1):65--90.
Beyond Valence: Toward a Model of Emotion-Specific Influences on Judgement and Choice.Jennifer S. Lerner & Dacher Keltner - 2000 - Cognition and Emotion 14 (4):473-493.
Citations of this work BETA
Does Disgust Influence Moral Judgment?Joshua May - 2014 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 92 (1):125-141.
What Should Realists Say About Honor Cultures?Dan Demetriou - 2014 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 17 (5):893-911.
Do Emotions Play a Constitutive Role in Moral Cognition?Bryce Huebner - 2015 - Topoi 34 (2):427-440.
The Effects of Cleanliness and Disgust on Moral Judgment.Kevin Patrick Tobia - 2015 - Philosophical Psychology 28 (4):556-568.
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