2Virtue ethics Focus is on personal qualities needed to flourish Flourishing is centralNot rules or consequences plus personal qualities needed to achieve these – this is character deontology of character consequentialism
3Key concepts in virtue ethics How should one live? εὐδαιμονία -eudaimoniaThe good lifeThe life worth livingHappinessflourishing
4Key concepts in virtue ethics How should one live? εὐδαιμονία -eudaimoniaDetermined by τέλος telos – end, purpose or goalImplies a narrative view of life:“Count no man happy until he is dead” - Solon
5Key concepts in virtue ethics How should one live? εὐδαιμονία -eudaimoniaThe life of pleasure – Epicurius (Hedonism)The life of virtue – Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, the StoicsWhat is the life of virtue?
6Key concepts in virtue ethics How should one live? εὐδαιμονία -eudaimoniaAristotle – rejects the ideas of a life devoted to pleasure or to politicsadvises a life devoted to friendship and contemplation
7Buzz groupsWhat are modern ideas of the good life? What is yours?
8Key concepts in virtue ethics What personal qualities do you need to achieve eudaimonia? ἀρετή - Arete – virtues or excellences of characterIntellectual and moraldisposition or habit of acting rightly according to reason ( Aquinas)Qualities needed to overcome challenges (Nussbaum and Sen)
9Key concepts in virtue ethics virtues are usually seen as acquired or learnt characteristicsBecause these can be changedthough there is an issue about people who are naturally virtuous or vicious in various waysMuch discussion of the issue of “moral luck”Eg Nussbaum The Fragility of Goodness
10Key concepts in virtue ethics Traditional catalogue of the seven virtues: Temperance, Courage, Justice, Wisdom Faith Hope and Love
12Aristotles virtues - the golden mean EXCESSMEANDEFICIENCYVicevirtuevice
13Aristotles virtues - summary SPHERE OF ACTION OR FEELINGEXCESSMEANDEFICIENCYAngerIrascibilityPatience/Good temperLack of spirit/unirascibilitySelf-expressionBoastfulnessTruthfulnessUnderstatement/mock modestyConversationBuffooneryWittinessBoorishnessSocial ConductObsequiousnessFriendlinessCantankerousnessShameShynessModestyShamelessnessIndignationEnvyRighteous indignationMalicious enjoyment/Spitefulness
14Buzz groupsWhat virtues are required to flourish as a practitioner in health care?
15Factors which affect your view of the virtues Vision of the good Vision of the good life The person or role you are considering -will influence your catalogue of virtues
16Key concepts in virtue ethics Φρόνησις - Phronesis The central virtue needed to know the virtuous actionPractical wisdomDiscernmentPrudentia, prudenceBoth a moral and an intellectual excellence
17 Key concepts in virtue ethics ἀκρασία Akrasia “weakness of will”Does it exist?A problem of reason or of emotion?
18How do you acquire virtue? Modelling – WWJD ( or S or A or B or C) Reflection on the telos of life, on eudaemonia and on specific virtues – what is courage, what is temperance Narrative and experience based
19How do you acquire virtue? involves training the emotions as well as the intellect and the will Can you always become virtuous by trying harder?Aim for the ground and miss; distinction in Xtian theology between cardinal and theological virtues, the latter acquired by grace – does this mean in secular terms by activities like meditation, cultivation of an attitude to life the universe and everything rather than aiming at a specific goal?
20History of virtue ethics – an overview Plato - Euthyphro, Charmides, Greater Hippias, Protagoras, Gorgias, Meno Aristotle – Ethics Stoics and Epicurians The Christian synthesis – Gospels and St Paul - Obligation or virtue based? Augustine - absolute responsibility to tell the truth, but “love God and do what you like” Aquinas – Aristotle
21Post Renaissance/ Reformation Enlightenment Emphasis on Obligation Kant – the Categorical Imperative Betham and Mill – Imperative to maximise happiness
22The 20th Century renaissance Anscombe Foot Slote Hursthouse Macintyre
23Hursthouse – virtue ethics and abortion Not based on fetal status, woman’s rights or (specifically) on consequencesBased on the biological facts and our emotional reaction to them
24Hursthouse – virtue ethics and abortion Pregnancy is a special conditionabortion is not like appendicectomy or hair cuta new life or potential new life is a serious matter and its cutting off is not trivialAttitudes to new life change as it developsMixed feelings to a pregnancy are normalFamily life is part of eudaemoniaviz our reaction to miscarriage, stillbirth
25Hursthouse – virtue ethics and abortion Based on these things a virtuous person may opt for abortion in some circumstances: Poor physical health, gruellingly adverse circumstances, will harm existing children, not ready for the responsibility not interfere with my promotion got a holiday booked
26Hursthouse – virtue ethics and abortion a virtuous response may well include regret even when abortion is the virtuous choice, and may still reflect moral failing –e.g. for getting in the situation in the first place
27Hursthouse – virtue ethics and abortion To a considerable extent this reflects the law we have ( though not always how it is interpreted) Does it reflect your moral intuitions?
29Alasdair Macintyre – After Virtue The theory of moral fragmentation since the Enlightenment The “partial solution” lies in a unified life narrative based on engagement in practices in which the virtues and cultivated an through which “internal goods” are generated
30Moral fragmentation in health care Fragmented concepts of illness and disease Platonic and statistical norms Obstacles to maximising pleasure in consequentialist terms In the mind or in the body? Mind-body dualism Markets and “disease mongering” Responsibility and illness – cause or effect?
31The practice of health care Collaboration between professionals ( doctors, nurses, other clinicians, managers, administrators) and patients Internal goods – health Generating a flourishing narrative through the change of meaning through the interpretative function as well as by objective change through biomedical intervention
32The practice of health care What is a flourishing narrative in terms of health? A good life and a good death Illness as challenge which helps generate virtue
33The practice of health care Professionalism and flourishing professionals What are professional virtues? Institutions which support professionalism