Nursing Philosophy 13 (4):266-275 (2012)

Authors
Stephen Holland
University of York
Abstract
In a recent article in this journal I presented a sceptical argument about the current prominence of virtue ethics in nursing ethics. Daniel Putman has responded with a defence of the relevance of virtue in nursing. The present article continues this discussion by clarifying, defending, and expanding the sceptical argument. I start by emphasizing some features of the sceptical case, including assumptions about the nature of sceptical arguments, and about the character of both virtue ethics and nursing ethics. Then I respond to objections of Putman's such as that, according to virtue ethics, virtue is relevant to the whole of a human life, including one's behaviour in a professional context; and that eudaimonia should be central in explaining and motivating a nurse's decision to enter the profession. Having argued that these objections are not compelling, I go on to discuss an interesting recent attempt to reassert the role of virtue ethics in the ethics of professions, including nursing. This centres on whether role‐specific obligations – e.g. the obligations that arise for a moral agent qua lawyer or mother – can be accommodated in a virtue ethics approach. Sean Cordell has argued that the difficulty of accommodating role‐specific obligations results in an ‘institution‐shaped gap’ in virtue ethics. He suggests a way of meeting this difficulty that appeals to the ergon of institutions. I endorse the negative point that role‐specific obligations elude virtue ethics, but argue that the appeal to the ergon of institutions is unsuccessful. The upshot is further support for scepticism about the virtue ethics approach to nursing ethics. I end by gesturing to some of the advantages of a sceptical view of virtue ethics in nursing ethics
Keywords professional ethics  social roles  virtues
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1111/j.1466-769X.2012.00541.x
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 70,337
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Non‐Relative Virtues: An Aristotelian Approach.Martha C. Nussbaum - 1988 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 13 (1):32-53.
Uneasy Virtue.Julia Driver - 2001 - Cambridge University Press.
Uneasy Virtue.Julia Driver - 2002 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 64 (3):606-607.
Toward a Virtue-Based Normative Ethics for the Health Professions.Edmund D. Pellegrino - 1995 - Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 5 (3):253-277.

View all 14 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Ethical Competence.Kathleen Lechasseur, Chantal Caux, Stéphanie Dollé & Alain Legault - forthcoming - Nursing Ethics:096973301666777.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Nursing Ethics.Ian E. Thompson, Kath M. Melia & Kenneth M. Boyd (eds.) - 2006 - Churchill Livingstone Elsevier.
Virtue Ethics.Roger Crisp & Michael Slote (eds.) - 1997 - Oxford University Press.
Virtue Ethics as Professional Ethics: The Case of Psychiatry.Jennifer Radden - 2007 - In Rebecca L. Walker & Philip J. Ivanhoe (eds.), Working Virtue: Virtue Ethics and Contemporary Moral Problems. Oxford University Press. pp. 113--134.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2012-06-08

Total views
13 ( #769,586 of 2,508,059 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #416,715 of 2,508,059 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes