Bioethics in the Twenty-First Century: Why We Should Pay Attention to Eighteenth-Century Medical Ethics
McCullough, Laurence B.
Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal. 1996 Dec; 6(4): 329-333.
Those of us who work in the field of bioethics tend to think that, because the word "bioethics" is new, so too the field is new in all respects, but we are not the first to do bioethics. John Gregory (1724-1773) did bioethics just as we do it, at least two centuries before we thought to do it. He deployed philosophical methods as sophisticated as our own. Indeed, Gregory took up the very best moral philosophy available to thinkers of the Scottish Enlightenment, namely, David Hume's moral philosophy and its core concept of sympathy. Gregory also responded in a conceptually powerful and clinically applicable way to the problems of his time, just as we do. I want here to outline Gregory's accomplishment and to identify some aspects of its importance for bioethics in the twenty-first century.
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