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Projectivism psychologized: the philosophy and psychology of disgust

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Title
Projectivism psychologized: the philosophy and psychology of disgust
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Title
Philosophy and psychology of disgust
Name (ID = NAME001); (type = personal)
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Kelly
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Daniel R. (Daniel Ryan)
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Daniel R. Kelly
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Stephen
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Stephen P Stich
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chair
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Goldman
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Alvin
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Alvin I Goldman
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McLaughlin
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Brian
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Brian P McLaughlin
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Jager
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Colin
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Advisory Committee
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Colin Jager
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Rutgers University
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Graduate School - New Brunswick
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theses
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2007
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2007
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English
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electronic
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x, 262 pages
Abstract
This dissertation explores issues in the philosophy of psychology and metaphysics through the lens of the emotion of disgust, and its corresponding property, disgustingness.
The first chapter organizes an extremely large body of data about disgust, imposes two constraints any theory must meet, and offers a cognitive model of the mechanisms underlying the emotion. The second chapter explores the evolution of disgust, and argues for the Entanglement thesis: this uniquely human emotion was formed when two formerly distinct mechanisms, one dedicated to monitoring food intake and protecting against poisons, the other dedicated to protecting against parasitic infection, where driven together until they became functionally integrated. The third chapter explores the sorts of acquisition mechanisms that could give rise to the patterns of individual and cultural level variation we find with disgust elicitors. It argues for the Empathic Acquisition thesis, which holds that one important route for the social acquisition and transmission of disgust elicitors is linked to empathic recognition of facial expressions of the emotion. The fourth chapter builds on the Entanglement thesis, and embeds the emotion of disgust in gene-culture coevolutionary theory and the tribal instincts hypothesis. The Co-opt thesis is defended, which maintains that disgust was co-opted to play an important role in our moral psychology, particularly in our cognition of social norms and ethnic boundary markers. In doing so, however, it brings to bear many features initially linked to poisons and parasites. This explains the puzzling and troublesome character of moral judgments linked to disgust.
After shifting gears from psychology to metaphysics, the fifth chapter recasts the Humean tradition of projectivism in the terminology of cognitive science. Using examples such as disgust, I argue that a psychologized projectivism is able to make sense of the idea that some properties are projected onto the world, rather than found there to begin with. The final chapter criticizes three other accounts of the property of disgustingness, two inspired by functionalism in the philosophy of color, one inspired by fittingness accounts in metaethics. I argue that none provide nearly as satisfactory account of the property as the psychologized projectivism articulated previously.
Note (type = degree)
Ph.D.
Note (type = bibliography)
Includes bibliographical references (p. 251-261).
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Topic
Philosophy
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Aversion
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Graduate School - New Brunswick Electronic Theses and Dissertations
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rucore19991600001
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http://hdl.rutgers.edu/1782.2/rucore10001600001.ETD.16407
Identifier
ETD_415
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NjNbRU
Identifier (type = doi)
doi:10.7282/T3PZ597Q
Genre (authority = ExL-Esploro)
ETD doctoral
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The author owns the copyright to this work.
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Open
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Daniel Kelly
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Affiliation
Rutgers University. Graduate School - New Brunswick
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Author Agreement License
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I hereby grant to the Rutgers University Libraries and to my school the non-exclusive right to archive, reproduce and distribute my thesis or dissertation, in whole or in part, and/or my abstract, in whole or in part, in and from an electronic format, subject to the release date subsequently stipulated in this submittal form and approved by my school. I represent and stipulate that the thesis or dissertation and its abstract are my original work, that they do not infringe or violate any rights of others, and that I make these grants as the sole owner of the rights to my thesis or dissertation and its abstract. I represent that I have obtained written permissions, when necessary, from the owner(s) of each third party copyrighted matter to be included in my thesis or dissertation and will supply copies of such upon request by my school. I acknowledge that RU ETD and my school will not distribute my thesis or dissertation or its abstract if, in their reasonable judgment, they believe all such rights have not been secured. I acknowledge that I retain ownership rights to the copyright of my work. I also retain the right to use all or part of this thesis or dissertation in future works, such as articles or books.
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