Disorientation and Moral Life

ISBN : 9780190277390

Ami Harbin
256 ページ
140 x 210 mm
Studies in Feminist Philosophy Series

This book is a philosophical exploration of disorientation and its significance for action. Disorientations are human experiences of losing one's bearings, such that life is disrupted and it is not clear how to go on. In the face of life experiences like trauma, grief, illness, migration, education, queer identification, and consciousness raising, individuals can be deeply disoriented. These and other disorientations are not rare. Although disorientations can be common and powerful parts of individuals' lives, they remain uncharacterized by Western philosophers, and overlooked by ethicists. Disorientations can paralyze, overwhelm, embitter, and misdirect moral agents, and moral philosophy and motivational psychology have important insights to offer into why this is. More perplexing are the ways disorientations may prompt improved moral action. Ami Harbin draws on first person accounts, philosophical texts, and qualitative and quantitative research to show that in some cases of disorientation, individuals gain new forms of awareness of political complexity and social norms, and new habits of relating to others and an unpredictable moral landscape. She then argues for the moral and political promise of these gains. A major contention of the book is that disorientations have 'non-resolutionary effects': they can help us act without first helping us resolve what to do. In exploring these possibilities, Disorientation and Moral Life contributes to philosophy of emotions, moral philosophy, and political thought from a distinctly feminist perspective. It makes the case for seeing disorientations as having the power to motivate profound and long-term shifts in moral and political action. A feminist re-envisioning of moral psychology provides the framework for understanding how they do so.


Table of contents
Preface: Life Beyond What One Has Concepts For

Chapter One: Being Disoriented
1.1 Contextualizing the concept
1.2 Disorientation and family resemblance
1.3 Methodologies for interpreting disorientations and their effects
1.3 (i) Claims about what disorientations are
1.3 (ii) Claims about what disorientations do
1.3 (iii) Implications of this account for moral motivation and agency
1.3 (iv) Implications of this account for understandings of oppression
1.4 Conclusion

Chapter Two: Moral Motivation beyond Moral Resolve
2.1 Identifying moral resolve
2.2 Legacies of resolvism
2.2 (i) Resolvism in accounts of moral development
2.2 (ii) Resolvism in accounts of moral judgment
2.2 (iii) Resolvism in accounts of moral failure
2.2 (iv) Resolvism in accounts of moral growth
2.3 The disorientations of grief
2.4 Contesting resolvism

Chapter Three: What is Disorientation in Thinking?
3.1 Disorientations of life under racism
3.1 (i) Double consciousness and awareness of oppressive norms
3.1 (ii) White ambush and awareness of oppressive norms
3.2 Disorientations of learning about oppression and privilege
3.2 (i) Consciousness raising and awareness of political complexity
3.2 (ii) Critical classrooms and awareness of political complexity
3.3 The power of awareness without moral resolve
3.3 (i) Prompting epistemic humility
3.3 (ii) Prompting resistant re-identification
3.3 (iii) Prompting different relations to felt power
3.4 Conclusion

Chapter Four: Tenderizing Effects and Acting Despite Ourselves
4.1 Disorientations of interruption
4.1 (i) Illness, sensing vulnerability, and living unprepared
4.1 (ii) Trauma and living unprepared
4.2 Disorientations of ill fit
4.2 (i) Queerness and in-this-togetherness
4.2 (ii) Migration and living against the grain
4.3 The power of tenderizing effects
4.4 Conclusion

Chapter Five: Injustice and Irresoluteness
5.1 Resolute and irresolute action against injustice
5.2 Both/and actions, heterosexism, and mass incarceration
5.3 Doubling back actions, implicit bias, and colonialism
5.4 Building without blueprints and post-industrial poverty
5.5 Conclusion

Chapter Six: Disorientation and Habitability
6.1 Dismissing disorientations
6.2 Responding to disoriented others
6.3 Responding to oneself as disorientable
6.4 Back to the rough waves



Ami Harbin is Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Women & Gender Studies at Oakland University (Michigan). Her research is in the areas of feminist philosophy, ethics, moral psychology, bioethics, and social philosophy.