Social ethics, the philosophy of medicine, and professional responsibility

The social ethics of medicine is the study and ethical analysis of social structures which impact on the provision of health care by physicians. There are many such social structures. Not all these structures are responsive to the influence of physicians as health professionals. But some social structures which impact on health care are prompted by or supported by important preconceptions of medical practice. In this article, three such elements of the philosophy of medicine are examined in terms of the negative impact on health care of the social structures to which they contribute. The responsibilities of the medical profession and of individual physicians to work to change these social structures are then examined in the light of a theory of profession.
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Anthony Weston (1991). Toward a Social Critique of Bioethics. Journal of Social Philosophy 22 (2):109-118.

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