Ethics and International Affairs 36 (1):15-25 (2022)

Moral injury names how the lived experience of armed conflict can damage an individual's ethical foundations, often with serious consequences. While the term has gained increasing acceptance for the clinical treatment of veterans and as a means of better understanding the impact of war, it is generally applied to individualized trauma. As part of the roundtable, “Moral Injury, Trauma, and War,” this essay argues that moral injury is also a useful means of addressing political violence at a societal level. It explores the term's value within international human rights discourse and practice, particularly in efforts to document and analyze the systematic commission of atrocities to achieve accountability and reconciliation. The essay presents field research among Iraqi human rights investigators as a means of reflecting on the value of rediscovering agency in the aftermath of societal trauma. In this way, moral injury provides guidance on the essential ethical qualities of the lived experience of violent repression, an issue central to a more complete understanding of international affairs.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1017/s0892679422000028
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 70,130
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

The Moral Harms of Domestic Violence.Macy Salzberger - 2021 - Journal of Social Philosophy (2):168-184.
.Joseph Wiinikka-Lydon - 2019 - Springer Verlag.
Violence and Image.Cristian Ciocan - 2021 - Continental Philosophy Review 54 (3):331-348.
Moral Injury and Revisionist Just War Theory.Jesse Kirkpatrick - 2022 - Ethics and International Affairs 36 (1):27-35.
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.
Mapping Moral Injury: Comparing Discourses of Moral Harm.Joseph Wiinikka-Lydon - 2019 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 44 (2):175-191.
On ‘Moral Injury’: Psychic Fringes and War Violence.Kenneth MacLeish - 2018 - History of the Human Sciences 31 (2):128-146.
Moral Dilemmas and Moral Injury.Jennifer Mei Sze Ang - 2017 - International Journal of Applied Philosophy 31 (2):189-205.
A Distress That Cannot Be Forgotten.Joseph Wiinikka-Lydon - 2020 - Philosophy Today 64 (3):637-650.
Moral Injury and Jus Ad Bellum.Andrew Fiala - 2017 - Essays in Philosophy 18 (2):281-294.


Added to PP index

Total views
1 ( #1,545,750 of 2,506,506 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #416,791 of 2,506,506 )

How can I increase my downloads?


Sorry, there are not enough data points to plot this chart.

My notes