By P. Carrick

The notion of reviewing the moral matters of historical medication with a watch as to how they may coach us in regards to the tremendous vigorous disputes of our personal modern medication is this sort of average person who it surprises us to actual­ ize how very sluggish we now have been to pursue it in a sustained way_ Ideologues have frequently seized at the very identify of Hippocrates to shut off debate approximately such concerns as abortion and euthanasia - as though via entice a well known and sacred authority that no expert individual could care or dare to oppose_ And but, underneath the well mannered fakery of such reference, we've disadvantaged our­ selves of a familiarity with the certainly 'unsimple' number of Greek and Roman reflections at the nice questions of clinical ethics. The fascination of getting better these perspectives definitely will depend on one gorgeous truism a minimum of: people sicken and die; they have to be cared for via people who are socially recommended to specialise in the duty; and the alterations within the rounds of human existence are loads an analogous from precedent days to our personal that the disputes and agreements of the previous are remarkably just like these of our own.

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Extra resources for Medical Ethics in Antiquity: Philosophical Perspectives on Abortion and Euthanasia

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36 CHAPTER TWO THEORIES OF HEALTH AND DISEASE Whatever benefits came to philosophy by way of Greek medicine, Greek medicine also received from the early Pre-Socratic philosophers the impetus to emancipate the healing arts from magic and superstition. In this chapter it is my aim to explore some of the main facets of two theories of health and disease that most strongly influenced Greek physicians, namely, the humoral theory associated with Hippocrates and the eclectic theory of the best constitution associated with Galen.

In the absence of any system of licensure, he needed to protect his reputation as a wise and useful healer of the sick. Otherwise he would be confused with charlatans and quacks, of whom there were many. As I have suggested, compared to his Egyptian counterpart, the Greek doctor was freer to regulate his practice and adjust treatments as he saw fit. While usually pious in his attitudes toward the gods, he was not in the habit of attributing disease to supernatural causes. Nor did he resort to magic, as did Egyptian physicians and priests (often the same person) in Pharaonic times.

Republic, Book Four) Plato tends to reduce the authority and role of the physician by restricting medical assistance to cases of an emergency nature only, such as the repair of broken limbs, gashes, wounds, etc. Moreover, the physician is forbidden to instruct the citizens of Plato's ideal state to seek or preserve their personal health at any cost, or by any means. Such vain advice would not serve the economic interests of the state. It would instead threaten to extend human suffering beyong the limit of a useful, worthwhile life, in Plato's opinion.

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