Medical Ethics in the Ancient World

By Paul Carrick | Go to book overview

Conclusion

The future belongs to those who shall have done most for suffering humanity.

— Louis PASTEUR

WE HAVE DISCOVERED not one but many diverse Greek and Roman philosophical and medical perspectives on abortion and euthanasia. Let us glance retrospectively at some of the key findings and reflect briefly on their possible implications for a fuller understanding of the origins and character of Western medical ethics. My remarks will encompass four broad areas: (1) the multiplicity of ancient medical ethical perspectives; (2) the relationship of ancient physicians to ancient philosophers; (3) the relationship of these physicians to their patients; and (4) the relationship of physicians to the state.


DIVERSE MEDICAL ETHICAL PERSPECTIVES

From the evidence that we have examined, manifold and diverse Greco-Roman ethical perspectives on the rightness or wrongness of abortion, euthanasia, and related topics have emerged. What does it mean?

One thing that it clearly means is that there is no such thing as the Greek or Roman view on abortion, or the Greek or Roman view on euthanasia, or on when humanhood begins and ends, or on what happens to a person when he dies, and so on. Some contemporary scholars, like Langer and Mair, and several more of their predecessors, like Lecky and Westermarck, have on the whole tended to lump together Greco-Roman perspectives on such vital bioethical and metaphysical questions. Differences in degree of approval or condemnation were admitted, but over

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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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