On ‘moral injury’

History of the Human Sciences 31 (2):128-146 (2018)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

This article is concerned with theories and therapeutic practices that interpret post-traumatic combat stress as a ‘moral injury’ produced by the shock of carrying out lethal violence in uncertain battlefield conditions. While moral injury is said to share many symptoms with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), its proponents – military and Veterans Health Administration clinical psychologists, chaplains, and some psychiatrists – are concerned by PTSD’s inability to account for the meaning-based moral and ethical distress that counterinsurgency battlefields in Iraq and Afghanistan are allegedly especially prone to produce in US soldiers. Moral injury theorists seem to want to describe a phenomenon that is both more profound than PTSD but which, as clinical psychologists Shira Maguen and Brett Litz state, is not itself a mental disorder. In this article, I examine the links between moral injury theory’s fringe diagnostic status and the fringe status of the kinds of violence it understands as uniquely injurious to soldiers’ psyches. Moral injury valorizes war-fighting and military culture while casting war as a source of almost inevitable psychopathology. I argue that moral injury theory represents an effort to carve out a distinct domain of psychological expertise but also a negotiation of the tension between war violence’s ‘normal’ practice and its excessive or morally hazardous manifestations – both of which link mental illness directly to the politics of war violence and post-war care.

Links

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 92,168

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Moral Dilemmas and Moral Injury.Jennifer Mei Sze Ang - 2017 - International Journal of Applied Philosophy 31 (2):189-205.
Moral Injury, Jus Ad Bellum, and Conscientious Refusal.Fiala Andrew - 2017 - Essays in Philosophy 18 (2):281-294.
Wronged beyond words: On the publicity and repression of moral injury.Matthew Congdon - 2016 - Philosophy and Social Criticism 42 (8):815-834.
The nature and disvalue of injury.Seth Lazar - 2009 - Res Publica 15 (3):289-304.
Moral Injury: Contextualized Care.Keith G. Meador & Jason A. Nieuwsma - 2018 - Journal of Medical Humanities 39 (1):93-99.
Moral Distress, Moral Injury, and Moral Luck.Andrew McAninch - 2016 - American Journal of Bioethics 16 (12):29-31.
Moral Dilemmas and Moral Injury.Jennifer Mei Sze Ang - 2017 - International Journal of Applied Philosophy 31 (2):189-205.
Combat Trauma and Moral Fragmentation: A Theological Account of Moral Injury.Warren Kinghorn - 2012 - Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics 32 (2):57-74.
Moral Injury and Relational Harm: Analyzing Rape in Darfur.Sarah Clark Miller - 2009 - Journal of Social Philosophy 40 (4):504-523.
Nonreductive Ethical Naturalism.Andrew B. Schoedinger - 2007 - The Proceedings of the Twenty-First World Congress of Philosophy 1:3-6.

Analytics

Added to PP
2018-05-26

Downloads
33 (#486,231)

6 months
9 (#313,570)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?