Good medical ethics, from the inside out—and back again

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Abstract

I argue here that good medical ethics requires an empirically-informed moral psychology of medical virtue along with sound action-guiding prescriptions for virtuous medical practice. After distinguishing between three levels of justification, I indicate how medical virtue ethics can draw constructively on relevant empirical research in developing feasible and realistic aspirational standards for doctors, and in evaluating how policymakers can support doctors in acting on the virtues that doctors agreed to be guided by when they joined the profession.

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