Medical Ethics in the Ancient World

By Paul Carrick | Go to book overview

1
The Status of
the Physician

History is philosophy teaching by example.

—DIONYSIUS OF HALICARNASSUS

TO FULLY PENETRATE the values and conduct of the ancient Greek physician, it is necessary first to examine certain fundamental elements of his historical setting. Thus, I have selected three areas of initial inquiry that hold the key to comprehending the cultural framework within which the ancient physician practiced his craft. These three areas are best introduced in the form of three questions. First, who was the Greek physician? Second, what were some of the leading theories of health and disease that guided his care of patients? And third, what were the dominant attitudes and theories of his culture regarding death and the afterworld?

In Part I, I shall develop answers to these three important questions, with the present chapter restricted to the first among them. My primary focus throughout will be centered on cultural developments in and around the Greek mainland between the sixth through fourth centuries B.C. My secondary focus will include selected features of the Greco-Roman world up to the time of Galen in the second century A.D.


TYPES OF PHYSICIANS

Who was the ancient physician of fifth-century-B.c. Greece? What was his social rank? Ludwig Edelstein asserts that “whatever the situation may have been in prehistoric Greece, in Homer's time [ca. 725 B.C.], the physician was already the

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Medical Ethics in the Ancient World
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents ix
  • Illustrations xv
  • Preface xvii
  • Acknowledgments xxi
  • Introduction 1
  • Part I - The Social and Scientific Setting 9
  • 1: The Status of the Physician 11
  • 2: Theories of Health and Disease 27
  • 3: Attitudes Toward Death 50
  • Part II - The Rise of Medical Ethics 69
  • 4: Who Was Hippocrates? 71
  • 5: The Hippocratic Oath 83
  • Part III - Abortion and Euthanasia 113
  • 6: The Problem of Abortion 115
  • 7: The Problem of Euthanasia 147
  • 8: The Physicians Moral Responsibility 173
  • Conclusion 185
  • Epilogue 195
  • Appendix A - Principles of Medical Ethics 225
  • Appendix B - A Patient S Bill of Rights 227
  • Appendix C - Declaration of Geneva 230
  • Appendix D - Code for Nurses 231
  • Appendix E - Animal Use in Biomedical Research 233
  • Appendix F - Historical Chronology: Ancient Medicine and Culture 236
  • Select Bibliography 239
  • Index 251
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