Posts Tagged ‘Ethics’

When Politics Trumps Good Medical Practice

The purposes of professional medical associations are to set standards of medical practice for their members, to support members in the practice of medicine, as well as to serve as a voice for their members in the formulation of health care policy. Each of these focus areas should be grounded in sound science and strong medical ethics. Unfortunately, the current medical climate undercuts these principles as more and more policy recommendations seek to advance...

Has Medicine Lost Her Soul?

The Western medical tradition has held to, and to a large extent still echoes, the Hippocratic tradition enhanced by the Judeo-Christian ethic. Unfortunately, many medical schools now teach very little about appropriate ways to handle the power disparity that defines the relationship between the medical practitioner and the patient. Several schools have even taken to modifying the oath, one might argue arbitrarily, if the students are even asked to take an oath at...

Pellegrino: The Medical Philosopher and Prophet

He died on June 13.

I will never forget our first meeting at his Georgetown office. It was a Thursday. At age 91, his piercing eyes and attentive demeanor were surprisingly intense during our ninety minute conversation. His was a soul “haunted by conscience” as he put it. He said this by way of assuring that he would get back to us on some of material...

Birth Control and the Love of Life

Plato saw fertility as the expression sought by beauty, Proclus saw fertility as the metaphysical property of goodness, Aristotle saw it as the way in which all things strive to partake of the divine fullness of life. Ancient religions were characterized by cults, goddesses, rites, and offerings focused on fertility.

The central theme of wedding ceremonies was always fertility, begetting and bearing new life.  Traditional initiation rites always centered around the new and mysterious...

Aristotle and Aquinas: The Vital Difference

An easy, but accurate way of distinguishing the ethics of Aristotle from that of Aquinas lies in examining the fundamental questions they ask. Aristotle’s ethics is the protracted answer to three basic questions:

(1) Who am I?  (2) How should I live?  (3) Where am I going?

To these questions, Aristotle responds by explaining that we are social beings; that we should live a life of virtue in accordance with reason; and that...