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From Morality to Mental HealthVirtue and Vice in a Therapeutic Culture$
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Mike W. Martin

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780195304718

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2006

DOI: 10.1093/0195304713.001.0001

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Moral Health

Moral Health

Well‐Being and the Virtues

(p.29) 2 Moral Health
From Morality to Mental Health

Mike W. Martin (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter continues the discussion began in Chapter 1 on the ways moral values are embedded in conceptions of mental disorders and positive health, focusing on when mental health is defined positively, as psychological well-being. Positive conceptions of health invariably embody or presuppose moral values. Marie Jahoda identified six (overlapping) criteria for positive health, which today, is the starting point for many contemporary discussions. These are: (1) self-esteem, (2) psychological integration, (3) personal autonomy, (4) self-actualization, (5) social coping, and (6) realistic cognition. It is argued that these criteria are closely linked, respectively, to self-respect, integrity, moral autonomy, authenticity, responsibility, and truthfulness. They are not synonymous with these virtues, however, and each feature can be unfolded in subjective or objective directions, thereby reflecting ambiguities in the therapeutic trend.

Keywords:   mental health, self-esteem, self-respect, integrity, moral autonomy, authenticity, responsibility, truthfulness

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