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PHL383 February 11 lecture notes.docx

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University of Toronto St. George
Thomas Mathien

February 11, 2013  Virtues must be independent of the actions that express them  They are expressed in action  In the case of human virtues, they are associated with some kinds of reasons for actions  Association might be hard to specify, but in fully human virtues we should expect that these capacities are not automatic, but informed by a grasp of the situation  Virtues are something good to have  Radden and Sadler dispute which comes first, right or good? They say good comes first  What’s right to do is determined on reflection of what is good  You could have a capacity of disposition that is aimed at some good and expressed in actions, actions done for the right reasons, done with a grasp of the situation  What is right and good depends on the situation  If you are virtuous you tend to produce good results, maybe not always, but overwhelmingly you should get good results  More or less standard account of virtue ethics and where virtue figures in  These 2 authors have full commitment to virtue ethics  It’s a matter of fact what habits of action, feeling and the like, which ones count as virtues, certainly in the case of a particular profession  Virtues are useful, the most useful traits in morally acceptable practice  Every profession and every professional ought to acquire virtues  Professional education ought to implicate each virtues  They can be acquired (habituation, direct or indirect)  For Radden and Sadler they’re virtue foundationalists  We should think of the virtues as the fundamental moral good, or the fundamental characteristic which produces moral good  Derived from the standards of good or excellent practice in the profession  Page 68 and bottom of page 14  Part of what it is to be committed to a virtue ethic is to maintain that there are some virtues which cannot be covered, protected, replaced, or reduced to rules  There’s something about some of the capacities for good or fine action that just cannot be rule governed  What those will be will turn out to get feeling and response  If you look at a lot of traditional virtue ethics, when Aristotle deals with virtues he’s concerned with good human life and how to be good as a human being.  Various social roles defined by a goal or aim, something we call good that it is our job to attain or produce  In many cases Aristotle’s mixed feeling about being good at something  You ought to be good at whatever work or role you are producing good in  Aristotle: a properly educated person ought to be able to play music so that they know what is good music, but they shouldn’t be too good because that would be slavish in Aristotle’s view, reduce their engagement with the work of producing music to something that’s too devoted to an end  Instead of being the generic fine human being, your life becomes focused on pursuing this good that others are meant to critic  Radden and Sadler: think there are some fine conditions to occupy one’s life – professions, proper professions aim at some human good  The fact that you’re a professional doesn’t absolve you from the other obligations, being a professional is not incompatible with leading a fine human life (Radden and Sadler approach)  But it adds new obligations  You must have more virtues in order to practice a profession well  Page 12: list of characteristics that any professional needs  Extract from this set of virtues the famous 4 principles  4 principles as the kind of framework in which the physician can operate well as a physician  1. Beneficence 2. Non-malevolence 3. Respect for autonomy 4. Justice  As principles these have possible conflicts  In order to see what virtues are required in mental health care profession, it is important (chapter 2) to figure out what are the special characteristics of caregiving relationships? We can identify 7 or 8 special features (Radden and Sadler)  1. Observation that psychiatric patients are especially vulnerable patients  Limitations on their ability to offer informed consent to the treatments they may undergo  This doesn’t mean that they are considering mental health care patients as being non-persons or incompetent, often they do manage their own symptoms, respond to treatment, respond to options, and can choose among options with reasons that can stand up  On the other hand when they lack to capacity to respond this could be a result of feedback of the condition or treatment of the condition  Example: stigmatized for their condition which may produce depression or fear on the part of the patient, which then may lead to an action, paralysis, they cannot decide how to deal with the circumstances  The authors think they have what the right theory of self is, they conceive that there is something called the sense of self that is objected to the mental diseases and disorders  There is a limitation on that sense or to respond to one’s experiences  Limitations to responsiveness of therapy  Patients may manifest an inability to communicate  2. The patient need not experience their symptoms as undesirable  The narcissist may experience pleasure in certain stages of their disorder  Patient may not want to change because they like their situation  Makes treatment and cooperation particularly difficult  3. Psychiatric patients are very often long term patients 
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