Toward an empirically informed approach to medical virtues

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Several philosophers have developed accounts of virtue ethics that are more empirically informed than previous versions of this approach; however, such accounts have had only a limited impact on virtue ethical approaches to medical ethics. This chapter demonstrates how empirical research can help in the development of a strong evidence based moral psychology of medical virtue. It draws out some general desiderata for an adequate moral psychology of medical virtue, and shows how empirical research is crucial for devising well-grounded accounts of medical role virtues, such as medical beneficence and medical courage. It also explains how research into the impact of policy changes on medical practice and doctors’ medical virtues can help with deriving defensible policy applications from medical virtue ethics.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Virtue
EditorsNancy Snow
Place of PublicationNew York NY USA
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9780199385218
ISBN (Print)9780199385195
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Publication series

NameOxford Handbooks
PublisherOxford University Press


  • medical virtue, medical beneficence, medical courage, medical ethics, virtue ethics

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