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Plato’s Rivalry with MedicineA Struggle and Its Dissolution$
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Susan B. Levin

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199919802

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199919802.001.0001

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Plato’s Legacy to Contemporary Bioethics

Plato’s Legacy to Contemporary Bioethics

Chapter:
(p.212) 7 Plato’s Legacy to Contemporary Bioethics
Source:
Plato’s Rivalry with Medicine
Author(s):

Susan B. Levin

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199919802.003.0008

For the first time in the history of bioethics, the possible contributions of ancient philosophy are receiving notable attention. The chapter contends that while this is all to the good, bioethicists’ focus on Aristotle’s notion of phronêsis(practical wisdom) is misplaced. In the meantime, the promise of Plato remains virtually untapped by those seeking collaborative models of the doctor-patient tie that avoid the pitfalls of paternalism and autonomy. In addition, Plato’s explorations of human nature and his political thought have much to offer bioethics right now in its probing of medical professionalism and medicine’s role in society. Though engagement with Plato will not resolve our own quandaries, his work, particularly the Laws, warrants greater attention from bioethicists than it has heretofore received.

Keywords:   Plato, Laws, bioethics, Aristotle, phronêsis, doctor-patient tie, medical professionalism, paternalism, autonomy

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