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© 2015 Australasian Association of Philosophy. I argue that much philosophical discussion of moral disgust suffers from two ambiguities: first, it is not clear whether arguments for the moral authority of disgust apply to disgust as a consequence of moral evaluations or instead to disgust as a moralizing emotion; second, it is not clear whether the word moral is used in a normative or in a descriptive sense. This lack of clarity generates confusion between fittingness and appropriateness of disgust. I formulate three conditions that arguments for the moral authority of disgust need - but typically fail - to satisfy, in order to avoid (1) circularity, (2) the naturalistic fallacy, and (3) redundancy. These conditions are, respectively, (1) the identification of the direction of the causal relation between disgust and moral evaluation, (2) a demonstration that disgust is fitting to morally relevant properties, and (3) a demonstration that disgust is appropriate when elicited by these morally relevant properties. I will also suggest that, regardless of whether an argument for the moral authority of disgust can be made, it would be better to avoid the rather obscure term 'moral disgust'.

Original publication




Journal article


Australasian Journal of Philosophy

Publication Date





227 - 242