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Title page for ETD etd-03172016-155216

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Murphy, Alan Christopher
URN etd-03172016-155216
Title Wandering Virtues: Modesty, Patience, and Loyalty in Clinical Medicine
Degree PhD
Department Religion
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Larry Churchill Committee Chair
Keith Meador Committee Member
Victor Anderson Committee Member
Volney Gay Committee Member
  • medical ethics
  • healthcare ethics
Date of Defense 2016-03-15
Availability unrestricted
Two common doctrines in virtue ethics, eudaimonia and the unity of the virtues, simplify certain virtues that might otherwise prove troublesome. This dissertation is an exploration of what might become of those troublesome virtues in the absence of the doctrines of eudaimonia and the unity of the virtues. First, I review prominent accounts of both doctrines and rehearse objections to each. Second, I offer an account of what virtues could become in the absence of these two doctrines. Third, I turn to the specific, troublesome virtues that eudaimonia and the unity of the virtues artificially simplify, virtues that can stray far from other virtues without sliding into vice. These troublesome virtues, which include modesty, patience, and loyalty, are vexing because they do not require other important virtues and are actually more fully and more excellently realized when certain other virtues are comparatively neglected. I argue that recurring issues in medical ethics — including uncertainty in medical prognosis, lapses in emergent care, avoidable hospital readmissions, doctor–patient confidentiality, and transplant evaluation — become both more explicable and more navigable when virtues are theorized without reference to eudaimonia or the unity of the virtues.
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