Re: Wired

From: Damien Broderick (
Date: Tue Nov 23 2004 - 12:37:34 MST

At 07:41 AM 11/23/2004 -0500, Eli wrote:

>in the quote Greene says it's *more* than a metaphor, presumably meaning
>the emotion got reused in a emotionally hardwired way - it's not just a
>learned metaphor, but an innate case of evolutionary reuse.

That's exactly what the traditional discourse on disgust assumes to be the
case. Yes, it's nice to see the (presumptively) modularized loci light up
differentially, but surely effective deep metaphors *have* to work by
activating and conscripting visceral/autonomic responses. By contrast, I
don't imagine that an FMRI would register some `ornithogical bump' going
ping when an old fart refers to a young woman as a `bird'.

It's also interesting, though, to consider how much menu-setting or even
frank contingent learning must be involved in a lot of disgust responses.
Babies like to play with shit; dogs like to roll in it. Granted, an
infant's own feces are less likely to be contaminated with dangerous bugs,
but still... Is our profound revulsion against smelling, touching or eating
(ugh) feces something that emerges in a genetically programmed
developmental arc, or is it instilled culturally? And so on.

Damien Broderick

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