For most doctors, Hippocrates is a quaint figure of the past with hardly any relevance to the modern practice of medicine. We may label him as the “father of medicine,” but we have no idea what really connects us to him. We may occasionally and sanctimoniously proclaim “first, do no harm!” but we ignore the origin and real significance of that phrase.
Some of us may have taken some modified version of the Oath of Hippocrates upon graduating from medical school, but few of us think of it as a serious pledge with any real consequence for our day-to-day practice. And, over the last decades, most bioethicists have openly set aside the Hippocratic tradition, deeming it inadequate to help us deal with the moral quandaries that arise in the age of scientific medicine.
So, is there are any reason, besides historical curiosity, to become familiar with Hippocrates, let alone take him seriously? To help us sort this out we have a distinguished guest who is the author of a brand-new book entitled Hippocrates’ Oath and Asclepius’ Wound: The Birth of the Medical Profession, published by Oxford University Press.
Professor Thomas Cavanaugh’s faculty Website
Thomas A. Cavanaugh. Hippocrates’ Oath and Asclepius’ Wound. (Oxford University Press)
Thomas A. Cavanaugh. Double Effect Reasoning: Doing Good and Avoiding Evil. (Oxford University Press)
Michel Accad. Physician-assisted dying: A deadly choice for the medical profession. (Alert & Oriented blog)
Michel Accad. On the deactivation of implantable devices. (Alert & Oriented blog)
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