In recent years, virtue theories have enjoyed a renaissance of interest among general and medical ethicists. This book offers a virtue-based ethic for medicine, the health professions, and health care. Beginning with a historical account of the concept of virtue, the authors construct a theory of the place of the virtues in medical practice. Their theory is grounded in the nature and ends of medicine as a special kind of human activity. The concepts of virtue, the virtues, and the virtuous physician are examined along with the place of the virtues of trust, compassion, prudence, justice, courage, temperance, and effacement of self-interest in medicine. The authors discuss the relationship between and among principles, rules, virtues, and the philosophy of medicine. They also address the difference virtue-based ethics makes in confronting such practical problems as care of the poor, research with human subjects, and the conduct of the healing relationship. This book with the author's previous volumes, A Philosophical Basis of Medical Practice and For the Patient's Good, are part of their continuing project of developing a coherent moral philosophy of medicine.
"Pellegrino and Thomasma are arguably among the most influential authors now writing about the moral nature of physicianhood....The authors examine the philosophical meanings of virtue, something distinct from a thick description of physicians acting virtuously....By linking virtues to a physician's character, they hope to emphasize the skills needed to be a good person rather than only those needed to conduct a professional--that is, a technically
proficient--life."--New England Journal of Medicine
"Important to all medical students and physicians who want to grasp the deeper dimensions of their life's work. The authors strive to expand and deepen the range of applied ethics generally through their exploration of the virtue dimension of medical ethics....The writing is lucid and appropriately accessible to those not specially trained in philosophy. The authors continue to demonstrate the value of cooperation between an experienced clinician and clinically
astute philosopher in getting to the heart of good doctoring."--James F. Bresnahan, S, JD, LLM, PhD (Northwestern Univ Medical School), Doody's Journal
"This provocative and articulate study is a significant contribution to the literature. It should certainly be read by every serious physician and ethicist."--Richard M. Zaner, Ph.D., Vanderbilt University, Journal of the Association of American Medical Colleges
"A lucid, thoughtful, and impressively organized description of the philosophical foundation of virtue-based ethics.... Demonstrates in logical sequence how to relate the virtues of the practice of medicine to the ends of the practice of medicine....Their discussions are thoughtful, intuitive, and illuminating....Also includes excellent discussions of the value and contemporary pertinence of virtues in medicine....A splendid book. It reads well; it is not
pedantic; it is intellectually stimulating and morally refreshing; it expands our intellectual horizons; it illuminates our shortcomings and nourishes our capabilities without a trace of condescension or
pontification. I urge every physician who has concerns about the moral climate or our troubled ethical scene to read this treatise. He or she will be comforted and educated by such an effort." --Bernard H. Adelson, MD, Evanston Hospital, Journal of the American Medical Association
"The authors present an excellent introduction to current tides in bioethics....An interesting, well-reasoned and well-written work with insight." --J.E. Allen, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Choice
"This provocative and articulate study is a significant contribution to the literature. It should certainly be read by every serious physician and ethicist." --Richard Zaner, PhD, Vanderbilt University, Academic Medicine
"This is a very interesting book, which investigates in a clear manner the ethical problems of contemporary medicine from a virtue ethics point of view....The book is clearly written, well structured and well argued. It is an extremely valuable addition to the literature on the ethics of nursing....It is a book that will enrich the intellectual and moral awareness of all nurses working directly with their patients and clients."--Nursing Ethics
PART I: Theory
1: Virtue Theory
2: The Link Between Virtues, Principles, Duties
3: Medicine as a Moral Community
4: The Ends of Medicine and its Virtues
PART II: The Virtues in Medicine
5: Fidelity to Trust
7: Phronesis: The Indispensable Virtue of Medicine
PART III: The Practice of Virtue
13: How Does Virtue Make a Difference?
14: Can the Medical Virtues be Taught?
15: Postscript: An Integral Medical Ethics