Scepticism about the virtue ethics approach to nursing ethics

Nursing Philosophy 11 (3):151-158 (2010)

Authors
Stephen Holland
University of York
Abstract
Nursing ethics centres on how nurses ought to respond to the moral situations that arise in their professional contexts. Nursing ethicists invoke normative approaches from moral philosophy. Specifically, it is increasingly common for nursing ethicists to apply virtue ethics to moral problems encountered by nurses. The point of this article is to argue for scepticism about this approach. First, the research question is motivated by showing that requirements on nurses such as to be kind, do not suffice to establish virtue ethics in nursing because normative rivals (such as utilitarians) can say as much; and the teleology distinctive of virtue ethics does not transpose to a professional context, such as nursing. Next, scepticism is argued for by responding to various attempts to secure a role for virtue ethics in nursing. The upshot is that virtue ethics is best left where it belongs – in personal moral life, not professional ethics – and nursing ethics is best done by taking other approaches.
Keywords professional ethics  virtues
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DOI 10.1111/j.1466-769X.2010.00433.x
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References found in this work BETA

After Virtue: A Study in Moral Theory.Alasdair C. MacIntyre - 1983 - University of Notre Dame Press.
Mind, Value, and Reality.John Henry McDowell - 1998 - Harvard University Press.
Mind, Value and Reality.John Mcdowell - 1998 - Mind 109 (435):533-557.

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Citations of this work BETA

Ethical Competence.Kathleen Lechasseur, Chantal Caux, Stéphanie Dollé & Alain Legault - forthcoming - Nursing Ethics:096973301666777.
Recent Work in Applied Virtue Ethics.Guy Axtell & Philip Olson - 2012 - American Philosophical Quarterly 49 (3):183-204.
Virtue and Austerity.Peter Allmark - 2013 - Nursing Philosophy 14 (1):45-52.
Considering Virtue: Public Health and Clinical Ethics.Karen M. Meagher - 2011 - Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice 17 (5):888-893.

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