Emotional Shock and Ethical Conversion

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Similarly to when a wave of electricity impacts the animal body and provokes a convulsive stir of muscles and nerves, burning and ultimately paralyzing the affected surface, certain shocking emotional experiences may lead to sudden numbness. Drawing on sophisticated phenomenological tools to account for this extremely disturbing kind of psychological experience – one that cannot be captured by a purely descriptive approach – this chapter provides a descriptive analysis of the kind of emotional shock that risks threatening an agent’s moral integrity. I will focus my analysis on the commonly shared experience of having disturbing information from a socially shared context outside of oneself suddenly brought to the fore of one’s attention, rendering one numb, unable to assimilate even the most mundane of sensory inputs. I argue that in the long run, the outcome of such an experience may amount to a reconfiguration of the subject’s core values, daily routines, and even her life-long expectations and projects.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Politics of Emotional Shockwaves
EditorsAna Falcato, Sara Graça da Silva
Place of PublicationCham
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-56021-8
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-56020-1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2021


  • Emotional Shocks
  • Politics
  • Philosophy
  • Moral Philosophy


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