Medical Ethics in China

Reference work entry

For most pre‐modern civilizations with a certain degree of cultural sophistication, medical ethics were strikingly similar: hard work and concern for the poor and needy. A good doctor not only excelled in his medical skills, but also cared for the sick and poor. Material benefits should not be his major pursuit. In the West, such tenets naturally conformed to Christian morality; in China, Confucianism, Buddhism, and Daoism mostly contributed to the formulation of such ethics.

Despite the universality of these basic ethical requirements, there were specific features in the historical development of Chinese medical ethics which can be said to have gone through several stages of formation: the mythical period of Antiquity (ca. 771 BCE–AD 265); the period of Buddhist and Daoist influences of the early medieval era (265–960); the period of medical professional maturity of the late medieval era (960–1368); and lastly the late imperial period of Confucian influence (1368–1911).

In the period...

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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg New York 2008

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