Perpetrator Abhorrence: Disgust as a Stop Sign

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

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 phe- nomenon of “perpetrator abhorrence.” While some soldiers report having felt strong disgust in the moment of committing or witnessing atrocity, scholars dis- agree 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.
Original languageEnglish
JournalMetaphilosophy
Volume45
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)270-287
Number of pages18
ISSN0026-1068
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2014
Externally publishedYes

Cite this