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The Virtuous Physician: A Brief Medical History of Moral Inquiry from Hippocrates to COVID-19

Title: The Virtuous Physician
Subtitle: A Brief Medical History of Moral Inquiry from Hippocrates to COVID-19
Subject Classification: Medicine and Medical Ethics, History, Morals, COVID-19
BIC Classification: MBDC, HB, HPQ
BISAC Classification: MED050000, PHI002000, MED039000
Binding: Hardback, Paperback, ebook, pp.132
Publication date: 7th March 2023
ISBN (Hardback): 978-1-80441-176-6
ISBN (Paperback): 978-1-80441-366-1
ISBN (ebook): 978-1-80441-177-3


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Description

The Virtuous Physician: A Brief Medical History of Moral Inquiry from Hippocrates to COVID-19 traces the origin and development of practical moral inquiry as viewed through a lens of medical history.  The cornerstone of the book is a translation of, and commentary on, the second century BC pseudo-Hippocratic Greek text, Precepts, a work not translated into English since 1921, which introduces the idea of the ‘virtuous physician’, and the ‘art’ of medicine. Precepts describes the ideal way of being of the physician, and a pragmatic, very modern code of ethics. Through the examination of other early texts the book locates the physician as a seminal figure in ancient society, first with religious significance, and later with increasingly philosophico-intellectual meaning, the physical embodiment of the search for moral-pragmatic professional standardization. This inquiry is put to the test as applied to the existential threat and crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The new, updated translation of Precepts makes the book interesting to classicists; and the detailed discussion of the cross-cultural influences between East and West in the Ancient World, especially of the influence of the Ancient Near East on Greek and Roman thought, to historians. It provides an outline of the history of the field for bioethicists and biomedical ethicists, and a seminal reference piece for physicians, from which to ground their own daily decision-making. It can be seen as a more valuable guide than the Hippocratic Oath, in this regard.

Biography

Author: Elliott B. Martin, Jr., M.D., is Director of Medical Psychiatry, Mass General Brigham at Newton-Wellesley Hospital; and Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Tufts University School of Medicine, Massachusetts, USA

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