On Disgust and Human Dignity
2011 (English)In: Journal of Value Inquiry, ISSN 0022-5363, E-ISSN 1573-0492, Vol. 45, no 2, 159-168 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
In this paper, we critically examine Nussbaum’s claim that moralized disgust necessarily presents a threat to the dignity of human beings. Without calling into question Nussbaum’s account of human dignity and of the emotion of disgust, we have seen that whether dignity can be conceptualized as an inalienable characteristic possessed by all human beings or as a characteristic tied to the development and exercise of the central human capabilities, moralized disgust need not be incompatible with respect for the dignity of human beings. However, the fact that moral disgust need not present a threat to the equal respect and dignity of all human beings does not support the claim that there is wisdom in repugnance. It might well be that disgust is not very reliable and thus not a particularly good moral guide. Also, it might be that, as Nussbaum suggests, the link of disgust with the desire to remain pure can result in a failure to move us to engage socially, to protest against wrongdoing, and to right wrongs. If so, disgust might not be a valuable emotion for social reform. Hence, there might be good reasons to question the value of disgust as a response to moral wrongs, but a concern that disgust inevitably threatens human dignity does not seem to be one of them
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. Vol. 45, no 2, 159-168 p.
Research subject Philosophy
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-317220OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-317220DiVA: diva2:1080831