Cultivating Moral Character and Virtue in Professional Practice  book cover
1st Edition

Cultivating Moral Character and Virtue in Professional Practice

Edited By

David Carr

ISBN 9780367371500
Published June 30, 2020 by Routledge
240 Pages

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Book Description

Cultivating Moral Character and Virtue in Professional Practice is a pioneering collection of essays focused on the place of character and virtue in professional practice. Professional practices usually have codes of conduct designed to ensure good conduct; but while such codes may be necessary and useful, they appear far from sufficient, since many recent public scandals in professional life seem to have been attributable to failures of personal moral character. This book argues that there is a pressing need to devote more attention in professional education to the cultivation or development of such moral qualities as integrity, courage, self-control, service and selflessness.

Featuring contributions from distinguished leaders in the application of virtue ethics to professional practice, such as Sarah Banks, Ann Gallagher, Geoffrey Moore, Justin Oakley and Nancy Sherman, the volume looks beyond traditional professions to explore the ethical dimensions of a broad range of important professional practices. Inspired by a successful international and interdisciplinary conference on the topic, the book examines various ways of promoting moral character and virtue in professional life from the general ethical perspective of contemporary neo-Aristotelian virtue theory.

The professional concerns of this work are of global significance and the book will be valuable reading for all working in contemporary professional practices. It will be of particular interest to academics, practitioners and postgraduate students in the fields of education, medicine, nursing, social work, business and commerce and military service.

Table of Contents


Introduction by DAVID CARR

Part 1: Virtue, practical wisdom and moral psychology in professional practice

Chapter 1: Why you cannot regulate for virtuous compassion, by PAUL SNELLING

Chapter 2: Thin ‘thank you’s’: resentment and gratitude in homecoming rituals, by NANCY SHERMAN

Chapter 3: Role duties, role virtues, and the practice of business, by MIGUEL ALZOLA

Chapter 4: Practising professional ethical wisdom: the role of ‘ethics work’ in the social welfare field, by SARAH BANKS

Chapter 5: Attachment, detachment and indifference in clinical practice, by PETER TOON

Part 2: The social, historical and institutional context of virtuous professional practice

Chapter 6: Creating regulatory environments for practical wisdom and role virtues in medical practice, by JUSTIN OAKLEY

Chapter 7: Progress in nursing ethics: something old, something new…, by ANN GALLAGHER

Chapter 8: Organizations, character, virtue and the role of professional practices, by GEOFF MOORE

Chapter 9: The institutional framework of professional virtue, by ANNE-MARIE SØNDERGAARD CHRISTENSEN

Chapter 10: Character in the British army: A precarious professional practice, by DAVID WALKER

Part 3: Learning professionally virtuous character: research and development

Chapter 11: Experienced UK nurses and the missing U-curve of virtue-based reasoning, by JINU VARGHESE AND KRISTJAN KRISTJANSSON

Chapter 12: Beyond research ethics: How scientific virtue theory reframes and extends responsible conduct of research, by ROBERT T. PENNOCK

Chapter 13: Transformation needs an agent: Preparing senior professional practitioners to nurture character, virtue and professionalism in their supervisees, by DELLA FISH AND LINDA DE COSSART

Chapter 14: Practitioner research, practical wisdom and teaching, by WOUTER SANDERSE

Chapter 15: Why is there lack of growth in character virtues? An insight into business students across British business schools, by YAN HUO AND KRISTJAN KRISTJANSSON

Postscript by DAVID CARR


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David Carr is Emeritus Professor at the University of Edinburgh and lately Professor of Ethics and Education in the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues of the University of Birmingham (UK).


"This timely and scholarly work brings together leading international commentators from a  range of disciplines and  contexts to make the case for the role of character and virtue in professional encounters with citizens. With careful attention to concepts and definitions, it makes the case for a re-invigoration of ideas of justice, integrity, wisdom, care and compassion which resist codification in rules and regulations. Such virtues are contingent, situational and must be made anew in each encounter. They require organisational environments in which practical reasoning and the deliberation of matters of value can flourish."

Sue White, Professor of Social Work, University of Sheffield.

"Cultivating Moral Character and Virtue in Professional Practice is not only relevant to the distinctive and individual professional fields represented by its multidisciplinary collection of chapters, but also simultaneously relevant to all.The issues raised by the authors are universal in their timely recognition of personal character and professional practice as being intricately interwoven. The power of this unique book is grounded in its refreshingly compelling convictions with respect to contemporary virtue theory and how, through this general lens, we can come to define, develop, support, and enable the professional work of ethical practitioners."

Elizabeth Campbell, Professor of Education, University of Toronto.