Is Care a Virtue for Health Care Professionals?

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Care is widely thought to be a role virtue for health care professionals (HCPs). It is thought that in their professional capacity, HCPs should not only take care of their patients, but should also care for their patients. I argue against this thesis. First I show that the character trait of care causes serious problems both for caring HCPs and for cared-for patients. Then I show that benevolence plus caring action causes fewer and less serious problems. My surprising conclusion is that care is a vice rather than a virtue for HCPs. In their professional capacity HCPs should not care for their patients. Instead HCPs should be benevolent and act in a caring manner toward their patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-69
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Medicine and Philosophy (United Kingdom)
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1993


  • Care
  • Ethics
  • Virtue


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