What in the world is moral disgust?

Alberto Giubilini

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    5 Citations (Scopus)
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    Abstract

    I argue that much philosophical discussion of moral disgust suffers from two ambiguities: first, it is not clear whether arguments for the moral authority of disgust apply to disgust as a consequence of moral evaluations or to disgust as a moralizing emotion; second, it is not clear whether the word 'moral' is used in a normative or in a descriptive sense. This lack of clarity generates confusion between 'fittingness' and 'appropriateness' of disgust. I formulate three conditions that arguments for the moral authority of disgust need to satisfy, but typically fail to satisfy, in order to avoid 1) circularity, 2) the naturalistic fallacy and 3) redundancy. These conditions are, respectively: 1) the identification of the direction of the causal relation between disgust and moral evaluation, 2) a demonstration that disgust is 'fitting' to morally relevant properties, 3) a demonstration that disgust is 'appropriate' when elicited by these morally relevant properties. I will also suggest that, whether or not an argument for the moral authority of disgust can be made, it would be better to avoid the rather obscure term 'moral disgust'.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)227-242
    Number of pages16
    JournalAustralasian Journal of Philosophy
    Volume94
    Issue number2
    Early online date2015
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Apr 2016

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