Toward a relational theory of harm: on the ethical implications of childhood psychological abuse

Journal of Global Ethics 18 (1):15-31 (2022)
Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
My aim in this paper is to move toward a relational moral theory of harm through examination of a common yet underexplored form of child maltreatment: childhood psychological abuse. I draw on relational theory to consider agential, intrapersonal, and interpersonal ways in which relational harms develop and evolve both in intimate relationships and in conditions of oppression. I set forth three distinctive yet interconnected forms of relational harm that childhood psychological abuse causes: harm to the relational agency of individuals, harm to the relationships individuals hold with themselves, especially with regard to how they respect, know, and trust themselves, and harm to interpersonal relationships of both a direct and indirect nature in present and future timeframes. I close by noting that while relationships can be the site of human brutality that destroys the relational self, paradoxically and promisingly, they also can be a primary means of the relational reconstitution of the self. Ultimately, relational analyses of the harms of childhood psychological abuse reveal several key elements of a relational theory of harm and demonstrate the significance of relational harms for moral philosophy.
No keywords specified (fix it)
(categorize this paper)
PhilPapers/Archive ID
Upload history
Archival date: 2022-06-09
View other versions
Added to PP index

Total views
20 ( #70,545 of 71,164 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
20 ( #39,192 of 71,164 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks on external links on PhilPapers.