Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
The Meaning of Disgust$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

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

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2017. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use (for details see http://www.oxfordscholarship.com/page/privacy-policy).date: 15 December 2017

The Function of Disgust

The Function of Disgust

Chapter:
(p.123) 6 The Function of Disgust
Source:
The Meaning of Disgust
Author(s):

Colin McGinn

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199829538.003.0006

It is by no means clear what the biological function of disgust might be. The Darwinian taste-toxicity theory runs into obvious trouble: disgust cannot be viewed simply as a protection against the ingestion of unhealthy substances. This is connected to the obscure origin of disgust in the human species: how can we speculate about the origin of disgust if we don't know what its purpose is? Only if we know its function can be know why it arises. What kind of adaptation is it? Is it perhaps a by-product of some other direct adaptation? Nor should we expect that its function, assuming it has one, is anything simple—as fear has the simple function of motivating the animal to avoid danger. Disgust might play a more complex role in the overall human psychological and biological economy. This chapter proposes to make some exploratory remarks about this very difficult question.

Keywords:   disgust, biological function, Darwinian taste-toxicity theory, adaptation

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .