What is Medical Ethics?
Current Anaesthesia & Critical Care, Doi 10.1016
By Andrew D Lawson
Some critics of medical ethics claim it as mere sophistry. The attempt
by humans to formulate principles and codes for moral behaviour is a
feature of all known civilizations. Ethics, or moral philosophy,
however came about with the Sophists of Greece in the fourth century
BC. The critics are right in a way, not in the sense that ethical
debate is subtly deceptive or necessarily sophisticated, but only in
the sense that examination of critical ideas of moral conduct and
techniques by which to discuss moral problems has its roots in Sophist
Greece. The relationship between doctor and patient has always had a
moral component, hitherto this component has been assumed. Swearing the
Hippocratic oath and or qualification was deemed to be sufficient moral
education. However the changes in biotechnology, changes in research
ethics and profound sociological and cultural changes have made this
assumption untenable. Knowledge of formal ethical models and an
understanding of ethical principles have been inserted back into the
medical curriculum where once it was studied as part of philosophy.
This review summarises current ethical teaching. 1. Ethics: the
discipline dealing with what is good and bad and with moral duty and
obligation, a set of moral principles: a theory or system of moral
values. 2. Medical Ethics: The application of ethical reasoning to
medical decision-making. 3. Moral Philosophy: Ethics; also: the study
of human conduct and values.
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(Something interesting I found)Posted: Monday, April 19, 2010