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.
Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
Number of pages: 256
Weight: 434 g
Dimensions: 222 x 148 x 19 mm
By setting out to find moral fruit growing in the disorderly cracks of unsettling phenomena, Harbin contributes to the growing and vital field of non-ideal theory in ethics. There's great and urgent value in her argument against treating practical disorientation as an abject defect... For insisting that we pay close attention to those who wrestle viscerally with problems of how to go on, Harbin's book is a vital intervention in moral philosophy. * Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews *
Ami Harbin's first book, Disorientation and Moral Life, is a much-welcomed contribution to the field of feminist philosophy. Drawing on a rich tradition of thought in moral psychology, philosophy and feminist theory, as well as on first-person accounts of the disorientations of migration, trauma, queerness, illness and feminist and anti-racist consciousness-raising, Harbin provides readers with a compelling and conceptually astute reading of the moral
significance of disorientations. * Hypatia *
The book demands that we attend to a feature of ordinary human lives curiously neglected by moral theory. Most of us will eventually find ourselves in a situation that staggers our normal expectations: a serious illness, the end of a career, the realization that we are the target of oppression. Harbin asks us to think carefully about these situations, and especially to see how they might be harnessed to contribute positively to our moral choices...Disorientation is a
part of many human lives, and in highlighting its capacity to foster moral improvement, Harbin has done a good thing for both ethical theory and the pursuit of social justice. * Regina Rini, Hypatia Reviews Online *
Exciting, challenging, and innovative thinking is found in recent feminist and critical race theory, and Ami Harbin's new book, Disorientation and Moral Life is an example ... this book is enlightening and would be a good textbook in both philosophy and psychology courses. Clearly, it makes an invaluable contribution to the interdisciplinary fields of philosophy and psychology. * Nancy Nyquist Potter, Metapsychology Online Reviews *