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Is caring a virtue?


Peter Allmark 15 St Albans Road, Sheffield S10 4DN, England.


The significance of the question ‘Is caring a virtue?’ lies in the fact that both the ethics of virtue and the ethics of care have been proposed as alternatives to what may be termed ‘bioethics’. The ethics of care has been of particular interest to nursing theorists, especially those who want to say that there is a body of distinctively nursing ethical theory which is different from bioethics. In answering the main question there are three supplementary aims: first, to explore the relationship between virtue ethics and the ethics of care, it is suggested that caring is not a virtue, but that the virtues involve caring correctly; second, to give a broad outline of what is meant by an ethics of virtue, including what it means to care correctly; and third, to examine implications of the theory for nursing.