I just finished reading Strangers Drowning by Larissa MacFarquhar. It is a collection of profiles for people who go to extreme length to help strangers. The title comes from Peter Singer's famous drowning child thought-experiment.
A philosophical question asked at the beginning of the book is that
In college we were given the thought experiment, Should you save your mother from drowning, or two strangers?
I know utilitarianism would tell us of course we should save the two strangers -- two lives is more important than one. But this is very demanding route of action. The do-gooders in the book did take this route to some extant, some times with considerable cost to their families.
I wonder if a virtue ethicist would have a different answer to this question. What is the virtuous (just) thing to do in this case? Can one still be virtuous if one value one's family above strangers?