Discussions of post-traumatic stress often underplay the moral dimensions of psychological injuries and the attitudes that go with it–guilt, shame, moral disappointment, feeling responsible for doing wrong or being wronged or being complicit. Georgetown philosophy professor Nancy Sherman turns her focus to moral injuries and the nature of moral recovery. She argues that psychology and medicine alone are inadequate to help with many of the most painful questions veterans are bringing home from war.
Nancy Sherman is University Professor at Georgetown and Professor of Philosophy. She has a University Affiliate appointment at Georgetown Law’s Center on National Security and the Law and is a Faculty Affiliate at the Kennedy Institute of Ethics. She previously held the first Distinguished Chair in Ethics at the US Naval Academy, designing the brigade-wide required military ethics course. Alongside her specialisms in philosophy, ethics and history of the emotions, she has a training in psychoanalysis. Since 1995, she has consulted for the U.S. Armed Forces on issues of ethics, resilience, and post-traumatic stress. She has been the recipient of many fellowships and awards. She has published widely on ethics, military ethics, the history of moral philosophy, ancient ethics, the emotions, moral psychology, and psychoanalysis. Her books include Afterwar: Healing the Moral Wounds of our Soldiers (Oxford, 2015); The Untold War: Inside the Hearts, Minds, and Souls of our Soldiers (W.W. Norton, 2010); Stoic Warriors: The Ancient Philosophy Behind the Military Mind (Oxford, 2005); Making a Necessity of Virtue: Aristotle and Kant on Virtue (Cambridge, 1997); The Fabric of Character: Aristotle’s Theory of Virtue, (Oxford 1989); and Critical Essays on the Classics: Aristotle’s Ethics, Ed. (Rowman and Littlefield, 1999).
Respondent: Michael Snape is inaugural Michael Ramsey Professor of Anglican Studies, Durham University, and a lay canon of Durham Cathedral. He was previously Reader in Religion, War and Society at the University of Birmingham, and is the official historian of the Royal Army Chaplains’ Department. He has published widely on religion and the experience of war in Britain and North America c.1700-1950, including most recently God and Uncle Sam: Religion and America’s Armed Forces in World War II (Boydell and Brewer, 2015).