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$18.95       paper
144 pages
(November 2003)



On Disgust

By Aurel Kolnai
Edited by Carolyn Korsmeyer and Barry Smith

As well as the 1929 work, this volume includes a shorter article published 40 years later, shortly before the author’s death, on "The Standard Modes of Aversion: Fear, Disgust and Hatred." Aurel Kolnai’s pioneering work carefully dissects the experience of disgust. Although the main part of the book first appeared in 1929, it has only recently become of interest to English-speaking philosophers, because of the new philosophical concerns with emotions, the growing respect of phenomenology, and the associated interest in Kolnai as one of the great phenomenologists.

Kolnai made a breakthrough in the phenomenology of aversion when he showed the "double intentionality" of emotions like fear, focusing on both the object of fear and the subjects’ concern for his own well-being, this being one of the ways in which fear differs from disgust. In a surprising yet persuasive move, Kolnai argues that disgust is never related to inorganic or non-biological matter, and that its arousal by moral objects has an underlying similarity with its arousal by organic material: a particular combination of life and death. Kolnai gives an analytic list of various kinds of disgusting objects (which should not be read just before lunch), and shows how disgust relates to the five senses.

“Writings on disgust by the 20th-century Hungarian philosopher; includes the first English translation of a 1929 work that approaches the subject by way of the phenomenology of Kolnai’s teacher Edmund Husserl.”

Chronicle of Higher Education


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