Ethics: A Historical Perspective

  • Tessy A. Thomas
  • Perry Ann Reed


Ethical principles in the practice of medicine have been greatly influenced by ancient Greek and Eastern philosophy and science. Philosophically, the common pursuit of knowledge, truth, nurturing complex relationships (i.e., physician-patient relationship), doing right versus wrong, exploring the meaning of life, and understanding the role of suffering has fostered significant discussions within multiple disciplines. In bioethics, aspects of religion, law, philosophy, science, technology, and society dovetail in discourse about the moral underpinnings of medical practice and physician responsibilities. This chapter, while not comprehensive, will briefly highlight some ancient influences, philosophical considerations, historical perspectives, and ethical frameworks specific to pediatrics.


Moral and scientific obligations Autonomy Informed consent Best interest standards Philosophical considerations Ancient influences Hippocratic oath 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tessy A. Thomas
    • 1
  • Perry Ann Reed
    • 2
  1. 1.Center for Translational Bioethics and Healthcare Policy, Geisinger Research UnitDanvilleUSA
  2. 2.Children’s Administration, WakeMed Health and HospitalsRaleighUSA

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