The Architecture of Disgust

Colin McGinn

in The Meaning of Disgust

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780199829538
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199919482 | DOI:
The Architecture of Disgust

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This chapter tries to discern some general patterns of disgust, before turning to the task of finding an explanatory theory. It identifies general characteristics that stand out in all the varieties: disgust is “contact-sensitive”; disgust is a “sense-based” emotion; disgust is, importantly, both an aversive and an attractive emotion; disgust exhibits a self-other asymmetry; disgust is a response to biological, not inanimate, objects; disgust is not, apparently, experienced by animals and small children; disgust can claim to be “encapsulated”; disgustingness is not a secondary quality, defined dispositionally; and disgust often gives rise to comedy and embarrassment.

Keywords: disgust; contact-sensitivity; sense-based emotion; aversive; self-other asymmetry; embarassment

Chapter.  8597 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy

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