Does Disgust Influence Moral Judgment?

  title={Does Disgust Influence Moral Judgment?},
  author={Joshua May},
  journal={Australasian Journal of Philosophy},
  pages={125 - 141}
  • Joshua May
  • Published 2 January 2014
  • Philosophy, Psychology
  • Australasian Journal of Philosophy
Recent empirical research seems to show that emotions play a substantial role in moral judgment. Perhaps the most important line of support for this claim focuses on disgust. A number of philosophers and scientists argue that there is adequate evidence showing that disgust significantly influences various moral judgments. And this has been used to support or undermine a range of philosophical theories, such as sentimentalism and deontology. I argue that the existing evidence does not support… 

Do emotions play an essential role in moral judgments?

Abstract The past few decades of moral psychology research have yielded empirical anomalies for rationalist theories of moral judgments. An increasing number of psychologists and philosophers argue

Moral Reasoning and Emotion

This chapter discusses contemporary scientific research on the role of reason and emotion in moral judgment. The literature suggests that moral judgment is influenced by both reasoning and emotion

The Limits of Emotion in Moral Judgment

  • Joshua May
  • Psychology, Philosophy
    Oxford Scholarship Online
  • 2018
This chapter argues that the best science supports the rationalist idea that, independent of reasoning, emotions are not integral to moral judgment and, even if moral cognition is largely driven by automatic intuitions, these should not be mistaken for emotions or their non-cognitive components.

Moral judgments and emotions: A less intimate relationship than recently claimed

It has long been claimed that moral judgements are dominated by reason. In recent years, however, the tide has turned. Many psychologists and philosophers now hold the view that there is a close

Do Emotions Play a Constitutive Role in Moral Cognition?

It is argued that claims about the role of emotion in moral cognition frame the debate in ways that divert attention away from other plausible hypotheses, and it is suggested that the available data may be more plausibly explained by appeal to predictive and evaluative mechanisms.

Moral Judgment and Deontology: Empirical Developments

A traditional idea has it that moral judgment involves more than calculating the consequences of actions; it also requires an assessment of the agent's intentions, the act's nature, and whether the

Moral Argumentation Skills and Aggressive Behavior. Implications for Philosophical Ethics

Much recent research on moral judgment making has focused on quick one-shot judgments. Explicit reasoning has been shown to play a minor role in these cases. However, these results do not generalize

Against moral judgment. The empirical case for moral abolitionism

ABSTRACT In this paper, I argue that recent evidence regarding the psychological basis of moral cognition supports a form of (moderate) moral abolitionism. I identify three main problems undermining

The response model of moral disgust

It is argued that disgust is a response to norm violations, and that it is (sometimes) a fitting response insofar as norm violations are potentially contagious and therefore pose a threat to the stability and maintenance of norms.

The Limits of Appealing to Disgust Joshua

The rhetoric of disgust is common in moral discourse and political propaganda. Some believe it’s pernicious, for it convinces without evidence. But scientific research now suggests that disgust is



The emotional basis of moral judgments

Recent work in cognitive science provides overwhelming evidence for a link between emotion and moral judgment. I review findings from psychology, cognitive neuroscience, and research on

On Disgust and Moral Judgment

Despite the wealth of recent work implicating disgust as an emotion central to human morality, the nature of the causal relationship between disgust and moral judgment remains unclear. We distinguish

The Pervasive Impact of Moral Judgment

: A series of recent studies have shown that people's moral judgments can affect their intuitions as to whether or not a behavior was performed intentionally. Prior attempts to explain this effect

The role of emotion in moral psychology

With a Clean Conscience

The findings support the idea that moral judgment can be driven by intuitive processes, rather than deliberate reasoning, and one of those intuitions appears to be physical purity, because it has a strong connection to moral purity.

The emotional dog and its rational tail: a social intuitionist approach to moral judgment.

  • J. Haidt
  • Psychology
    Psychological review
  • 2001
The author gives 4 reasons for considering the hypothesis that moral reasoning does not cause moral judgment; rather, moral reasoning is usually a post hoc construction, generated after a judgment has been reached.

The Good and the Gross

Recent empirical studies have established that disgust plays a role in moral judgment. The normative significance of this discovery remains an object of philosophical contention, however; ‘disgust

Disgust as Embodied Moral Judgment

Experiments 2-4 showed that the role of disgust in severity of moral judgments depends on participants' sensitivity to their own bodily sensations, indicating the importance—and specificity—of gut feelings in moral judgments.

Hypnotic Disgust Makes Moral Judgments More Severe

Two studies show that moral judgments can be made more severe by the presence of a flash of disgust, and suggest thatmoral judgments may be grounded in affectively laden moral intuitions.