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Disgust, Shame and the Law

photo"Disgust and disbelief" — that is how President Bush described what he felt when he first viewed the pictures of abuse from Abu Ghraib prison.

Martha Nussbaum, one of America's most prominent thinkers on public life, raises a big red flag when it comes to disgust. Disgust warps rational judgment, justifies prejudice, and hardens unbending laws, she says. But, above all, Nussbaum argues, bowing to feelings of disgust divorces us from the reality of our bodily selves, from the truth of our vulnerability and mortality, from our own humanity.

Click the "Listen" link to hear about the price of, the politics of, and the problem with disgust.

Guests:

Martha Nussbaum, author of "Hiding from Humanity: Disgust, Shame, and the Law"

Jack Beatty, On Point News Analyst and senior editor of "The Atlantic Monthly."

This program aired on May 11, 2004. The audio for this program is not available.

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