A Virtue Ethical Approach to Interpretation of the Suffering Other


  • Anne Eggert Stevns




Mental suffering, Interpretation, Ethics, Selfless love, Iris Murdoch


In this article my aim is to take up a thread from an article by Svend Brinkmann, wherein he is anxious to show that mental suffering cannot exclusively be explained within the narrow vocabulary of medical diagnosis systems, but can, an should be, be articulated through a large range of ‘interpretive vocabularies’ (Brinkmann 2014). In line with Brinkmann’s emphasis on the large range of possible interpretive vocabularies, I will engage the moral philosopher Iris Murdoch to show how the exploration of different possible interpretations of a particular client’s situation is in fact an ethical task, which requires the practitioner’s personal development of virtue in terms of selfless, loving attention as the precondition for a realistic interpretation of the client’s situation.


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How to Cite

Stevns, A. E. (2021). A Virtue Ethical Approach to Interpretation of the Suffering Other. Qualitative Studies, 6(1), 142–157. https://doi.org/10.7146/qs.v6i1.124455