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The Meaning of Disgust$
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Colin McGinn

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199829538

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199829538.001.0001

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Handling the Cases

Handling the Cases

(p.97) 5 Handling the Cases
The Meaning of Disgust

Colin McGinn

Oxford University Press

This chapter surveys the class of disgusting things to see how well the death-in-life theory can deal with the data. It concludes that the theory makes intelligible sense of the data of disgust. A common thread can be seen running through the domain of disgusting things—their principle of cohesion. The core cases exhibit the principle clearly, while the other cases shade off to a penumbra. The grouping is not arbitrary or wildly disjunctive, but reflects a single conceptual structure, with variations and extensions. To be disgusting is to meet certain well-defined conditions. Thus, we have arrived at an analysis of the concept of disgust; or again, we have discovered the essence of disgusting things. We now know what it is that makes something disgusting.

Keywords:   death-in-life theory, disgust, disgusting things, cohesion

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