Macy's teaching and research interests are in ethics and social/political philosophy, especially as they intersect with feminist philosophy, philosophy of education, and moral psychology. Right now, her primary research project is concerned with giving an account of the meaning and moral significance of domestic violence. More generally, she is concerned with the moral significance of our interpersonal relationships in contexts of unequal power relations.
In addition to teaching and practicing philosophy in her classrooms and research, Macy regularly engages in more public outreach. Right now, she serves as the faculty sponsor for Ethics Bowl at San Francisco State.
Before joining SFSU, Macy received her Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she wrote a dissertation under the supervision of Susan Wolf. Before that, she received a B.A. in philosophy and history/history of science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Once upon a time, she was cool enough to work at First Avenue in Minneapolis.
In this article, I argue that victims of domestic violence characteristically suffer from two distinct kinds of moral harm: moral damage and moral injury. Moral damage occurs when the ability to develop or sustain good moral character has been compromised by an agent’s circumstances. Moral injury refers to a kind of psychological anguish that follows from when an agent causes or becomes causally implicated in actions that we ordinarily would understand to be morally grievous offenses. A victim who suffers from moral damage may not suffer from any psychological anguish; instead, a victim may consistently, although regrettably, devalue herself. A victim who suffers from moral injury may not suffer from a deficient moral character; she may be an exceptionally virtuous person who is faced with only morally regrettable options. Because abusers often expect victims to adopt morally deficient dispositions and often implicate victims in wrongdoing, I argue that victims of domestic violence characteristically suffer from both moral damage and moral injury. By appreciating the differences in the moral experiences of the victim, we become better positioned to identify strategies for responding to or repairing the different harms they suffer.