Section/# Date Virtues versus Values A great deal of discussion and argument exists within the realm of politics and between social commentators regarding virtues versus values. Although it would be foolish to claim that one side or another is typified by a certain political movement, the fact of the matter is that many of the definitions of these terms and their overall relevance to our life are tempered by strongly political forces which seek to exercise a benefit from the understanding of one of these terms in a distinctly political way…
Consequently, the research will also seek to answer when and where these concepts should be applied, to what degree, and how they might relate to a situation which might involve medical ethics. Firstly, it is necessary to define these terms. If one were to ask a stranger on the street the distinct differences between virtues and values, they may stammer to find a logical way in which these can be separated in an intelligent fashion to denote two very separate and distinct thought processes and/or meanings (Martinsen, 2011, p. 176, par. 3). However, regardless of their overall similarity, the fact remains that there is a great deal of difference between the interpretation/definition of these two terms as well as a fundamental difference in vantage point from many of the individuals that support the application/development of one over the other. Secondly, a non-biased representation of each of these terms will be attempted as nearly as is possible. For the purposes of this brief research, values will be defined to mean those things which are learned culturally and via one’s own unique experiences and environment. Furthermore, it is also highly necessary to consider the role that values and virtues play with regards to medical professionalism (Buyx et al 2008, p. 758, par. 4). Accordingly, one can understand that values are more subjective as they depend on the unique lifestyle, experiences, world view, and a host of other unique factors. Furthermore, the purpose of such a definition is not to raise either values or virtues over the other but merely to provide a working definition whereby the reader can quickly draw inference regarding which is which and how they might be correctly applied in a given situation. Conversely, virtues are more universal in their definition. Due to the fact that virtues are, in fact, universal, their meanings are somewhat vaguer and help to speak to nearly all cultures and all situations. This vagueness should not be understood to mean that virtues themselves are subjective in a way similar to how values have previously been described. Rather, one should take this vagueness as an example that even though not people might define a given virtue in exactly the same way, each and every person likely has a respect for virtue and seeks to define it using mechanisms all its own (Garcia, 2008, p.125, par. 3). What one can infer from the above definitions is that both of these constructs can exist side by side within an individual who has a particular value of understanding with respect to a given construct. Accordingly, this value could also be indicative of a virtue that the person understands and appreciates as well. In effect, it is possible to have values as a microcosm of virtue. Due to the fact that each and every person has a unique set of experiences from whence they draw inspiration, belief, guidance, and morality, it is not difficult to imagine that it can be an easy progression from a personal value to that of a universal virtue. Furthermore, with reference to ethics in healthcare, it is, of course, abundantly obvious that professionals need to maintain the highest values and virtu ...
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