The Virtues in General Ethics



In the previous chapter, I highlighted the importance of the moral virtues in the development of a helping nurse-patient relationship. In this chapter, I turn to general ethics and take this discussion further. The discussion of the virtues is confined to general ethics to lay some of the theoretical foundations for the remainder of this book. In this chapter, I focus on the place of the virtues in the history of philosophy, I attempt to define virtues and vices, I consider why the virtues are valuable in human lives and I briefly note an advantage and disadvantage of the virtue-based approach to morality.


Character Trait Good Life Virtue Ethic Moral Theory Practical Wisdom 
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  1. 1.
    See, for example: T. Irwin, Greek Ethics (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999).Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    T. Hobbes, Leviathan, (ed.) C. B. MacPherson (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1985).Google Scholar
  3. 5.
    I. Kant, ‘The Doctrine of Virtue’, in The Metaphysics of Morals (ed.) M. Gregor (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 14.
    E. Pincoffs, Quandaries and Virtues: Against Reductivism in Ethics (Lawrence: University of Kansas Press, 1986), p. 78.Google Scholar
  5. 17.
    F. Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, trans. Walter Kaufmann (New York: Vintage Books, 1966)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Alan E. Armstrong 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Central LancashirePrestonUK

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