The Meaning of Disgust

Hardcover | December 1, 2011

byColin Mcginn

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Disgust has a strong claim to be a distinctively human emotion. But what is it to be disgusting? What unifies the class of disgusting things? Colin McGinn sets out to analyze the content of disgust, arguing that life and death are implicit in its meaning. Disgust is a kind of philosophicalemotion, reflecting the human attitude to the biological world. Yet it is an emotion we strive to repress. It may have initially arisen as a method of curbing voracious human desire, which itself results from our powerful imagination. Because we feel disgust towards ourselves as a species, we areplaced in a fraught emotional predicament: we admire ourselves for our achievements, but we also experience revulsion at our necessary organic nature. We are subject to an affective split. Death involves the disgusting, in the shape of the rotting corpse, and our complex attitudes towards death feedinto our feelings of disgust. We are beings with a "disgust consciousness", unlike animals and gods-and we cannot shake our self-ambivalence. Existentialism and psychoanalysis sought a general theory of human emotion; this book seeks to replace them with a theory in which our primary mode of feeling centers around disgust. The Meaning of Disgust is an original study of a fascinating but neglected subject, which attempts to tell thedisturbing truth about the human condition.

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Disgust has a strong claim to be a distinctively human emotion. But what is it to be disgusting? What unifies the class of disgusting things? Colin McGinn sets out to analyze the content of disgust, arguing that life and death are implicit in its meaning. Disgust is a kind of philosophicalemotion, reflecting the human attitude to the b...

Colin McGinn teaches philosophy at the University of Miami, specializing in philosophy of mind, metaphysics and philosophy of language. He has published some twenty books, ranging from consciousness to evil, Shakespeare to sport, film to logic, Wittgenstein to imagination.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:264 pages, 0.12 × 0.12 × 0.12 inPublished:December 1, 2011Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199829535

ISBN - 13:9780199829538

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Table of Contents

Part One: The Analysis of Disgust1. The Aversive Emotions2. The Elicitors of Disgust3. The Architecture of Disgust4. Theories of Disgust5. Handling the Cases6. The Function of DisgustPart Two: Disgust and the Human Condition7. Our Dual Nature8. Repression and Disgust9. Thoughts of Death10. Culture and Disgust