Medical Ethics in the Ancient World

By Paul Carrick | Go to book overview
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No matter how elusive or cooperative the muses may be, writing is a lonely, deliberate, unforgiving process. Were it not for the pioneering works and illuminating insights of scholars whose contributions have guided and enriched my own explorations of these topics, this book would have never been written. My students, past and present, have also crystallized my thinking over the years by asking innocent-sounding questions with tricky implications that sent me back to the original texts in search of fuller meanings. For this I heartily thank them.

Specifically, I have been greatly inspired by, and am much indebted to, the studies of ancient Western medical values, practices, and traditions that were undertaken in the twentieth century by Ludwig Edelstein, W. H. S. Jones, Henry Sigerist, and, most recently, Darrel Amundsen, William Frankena, K. J. Dover, Fridolf Kudlien, Guido Majno, Owsei Temkin, Winfried Schleiner, and John Riddle.

In addition, the many constructive criticisms and lively debates on ancient philosophy, medicine, and morals supplied by my former teacher and friend, Ronald Hathaway—who died of pancreatic cancer in 1991 on his fifty-fourth birthday—stand as personal inspirations of an incalculable scale. So, too, my father, Louis Carrick, a biologist from the old school with a solid footing in the humanities, offered much encouragement throughout, as did my uncle, Lee Carrick, a physician I have long admired. Philip Lockhart rendered cheerful assistance with some of my initial translations. He also helped me negotiate the unseen perils of Scylla and Charybdis faced by all who navigate the coastal waters of classical antiquity trained mainly in philosophy. Elizabeth Beardsley, K. Danner Clouser, Michael Dockery, Jonathan Gainor, Michael Green, Joseph Margolis, George Simms, Stuart Spicker, Norman Vanderwall, Philip Weiner, and William Wisdom read all or portions of earlier drafts. They all contributed several sound suggestions. Grateful assistance was also rendered by the Clinical Medical Ethics Series coeditors, H. Tristram Engelhardt and Kevin Wildes, plus several unnamed reviewers. I owe to Darrell Amundsen a special debt of gratitude for his many detailed and perceptive comments. John Samples, Georgetown University Press, has provided persistent, incisive, and unerring advice without which this volume would never have been realized. Edmund Pellegrino has been a constant source of inspiration as physician, philosopher, and teacher.


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Medical Ethics in the Ancient World


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