Medical Ethics in Antiquity

Volume 18 of the series Philosophy and Medicine pp 3-13

The Status of the Physician

  • Paul CarrickAffiliated withDepartment of Philosophy, Temple University

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In order to fully penetrate the values and conduct of the ancient Greek physician, it is necessary to examine first certain fundamental elements of his historical setting. Thus I have selected three areas of initial inquiry which hold the key to comprehending the cultural framework within which the ancient physician practiced his craft. These three areas are best introduced in the form of three questions. First, who was the Greek physician? Second, what were some of the leading theories of health and disease that guided his care of patients? And third, what were the dominant attitudes and theories of his culture regarding death and the afterworld?