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From Disgust to Humanity: Sexual Orientation and Constitutional Law
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From Disgust to Humanity: Sexual Orientation and Constitutional Law

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  152 Ratings  ·  13 Reviews
A distinguished professor of law and philosophy at the University of Chicago, a prolific writer and award-winning thinker, Martha Nussbaum stands as one of our foremost authorities on law, justice, freedom, morality, and emotion. In From Disgust to Humanity, Nussbaum aims her considerable intellectual firepower at the bulwark of opposition to gay equality: the politics of ...more
Hardcover, 209 pages
Published February 1st 2010 by Oxford University Press, USA
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It is a sadly familiar sight to see those in favor of discriminating against LGBT people use the 'gross out' tactic in using arguments. Phil Robertson's arguments about human anuses are only a recent example. Other arguments I have heard involve imaginary monsters of feces, disease, blood, or child molestation.

Nussbaum characterizes the legal history of discrimination and legal rights by describing the 'politics of disgust'. It is not an appeal to rationality, but a visceral fear of 'contaminati
Mar 09, 2010 rated it really liked it
A concise and clear essay about the issues underlying efforts to stigmatise gay people and deny same-sex marriage. Nussbaum derives her arguments from her longer "Hiding From Humanity"--- the argument that popular emotions of "disgust" are used to tag others as unclean, contaminating, and subject to legal disabilities even where the others' acts and attributes do no concrete harm. Nussbaum lays out the pre-rational roots of so much anti-gay feeling (fear and loathing of bodily substances--- bloo ...more
Oct 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: homo-lectio
Excellent discussion of the need for rational underpinnings of laws that dictate public OR private morality. A little too polite on the question of religious motivation for disgust-based anti-sex laws, but considering she's arguing for a modern secular reading of the Constitution (which is the only one that makes sense in 2012), she more than proves her point. Read this if you want to have solid, well-informed arguments for why prohibiting any-gendered marriage is unconstitutional.
Mar 04, 2010 rated it it was amazing

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Reviewed by: Maya Schenwar

In her groundbreaking new book, From Disgust to Humanity: Sexual Orientation and Constitutional Law, political philosopher Martha Nussbaum distills the true scariness of “disgust” propaganda.

Nussbaum gives the example of the 1993 treatise “Medical Consequences of What Homosexuals Do,” by Paul Cameron, firebrand founder of the anti-gay Family Research Institute, in which he revealed the “horror story” of “fecal sex.” He claimed
Vincent Li
Nov 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
An excellent volume, well reasoned arguments. In short Nussbaum argues that "disgust" in the average person is not enough to legislate on. She argues that we should move from disgust to humanity which is a respect for people to choose their own means of living and a deep sympathy in imagination of what others experience. Don't let the readability and shortness of the book deceive you, it's packed with broadness in subject and depth in treatment. Nussbaum discusses the psychological roots of disg ...more
May 14, 2010 marked it as to-read
Shelves: law
Sep 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
While a little dry at times this is a really good look at the disgust that underpins attempts to deny equal rights to gay people. Highly recommended reading.
Emilio PÆsano
Oct 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
an important, powerful work... the framework is accessible, her critique is exacting, and her responses are prescient... essential reading
"sex toys threaten health far less than the sale of soft drinks and candy." (184)
Mar 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
Jan 20, 2015 rated it it was ok
Interesting argument and background; however, I was not sold on the liberal approach to dismantling homophobia.
Paul Rhodes
Mar 10, 2010 rated it it was ok
This book simply confirmed what I already knew, namely that the liberalism of John Stuart Mill is simply moral relativism.
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Professor Nussbaum is the Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Ethics at the University of Chicago, appointed in the Philosophy Department, Law School, and Divinity School. She is an Associate in the Classics Department and the Political Science Department, a Member of the Committee on Southern Asian Studies, and a Board Member of the Human Rights Program. She is the founder and ...more
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