The virtues in their place: Virtue ethics in medicine

L. A. Jansen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


We are currently in the midst of a revival of interest in the virtues. A number of contemporary moral philosophers have defended a virtue-based approach to ethics. But does this renewal of interest in the virtues have much to contribute to medical ethics and medical practice? This paper critically discusses this question. It considers and rejects a number of important arguments that purport to establish the significance of the virtues for medical practice. Against these arguments, the paper seeks to show that while the virtues have a genuine role to play in medical ethics, it is a limited role, one that is subordinate to the role that other moral concepts such as rules and principles play.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)261-275
Number of pages15
JournalTheoretical Medicine and Bioethics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Duty
  • Ethics
  • Physician-assisted suicide
  • Pluralism
  • Principle
  • Rule
  • Virtue

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Issues, ethics and legal aspects


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