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Conferences & lectures

Sungwoo Um | Courage and Nursing | Philosophy Speaker Series

Date & time

Friday, October 2, 2020
3 p.m. – 5 p.m.


Sungwoo Um, National Institutes of Health


This event is free. All are welcome.


514-848-2424 ext. 2500



Sungwoo Um Sungwoo Um

Courage is a virtue that presupposes adverse circumstances which require the agent to take a substantial risk to try to achieve what is worthwhile. To understand when it is ethically appropriate to exercise courage, we need to analyze the nature of the risky adversity that calls for courage. I assess the different elements of risky adversity—including the sources of risk and the purpose of taking risks—to determine the appropriateness of exercising courage. I argue that sometimes it is not appropriate to exercise courage depending on the nature of the risky adversity. I apply the analysis of courage to the case of nursing and examine when it is appropriate for a nurse to be courageous and when not. This will have practical implications on how nurses can relieve moral distress raising from the situations of risky adversity in medical practice. In particular, I show that sometimes individual nurses’ courage is better not to be exercised if the risky adversity frequently arises from the unreasonable structure of the institute they belong to.

Watch the lecture via Zoom

Dr. Sungwoo Um is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Bioethics in the National Institutes of Health. He works primarily in ethics, applied ethics, and social and political philosophy.

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