This paper aims at analysing the ancient Greek notions of catharsis, to holon and therapeia to assess whether they may be of help in addressing a set of questions concerning the didactics of medical ethics: What do medical students actually experience and learn when they attend classes of medical ethics? How should teachers of medical ethics proceed didactically to make students benefit morally from their teaching? And finally, to what extent and in what forms and formats can the kind of cathartic treatment envisaged by Plato still be considered a necessary preliminary to moral learning? The three questions will be addressed by means of a reconstructive analysis and assessment of the Platonic notions of catharsis and holistic therapy present in the Charmides and the Sophist. Besides, the didactic potential of Plato’s dialogue form and moral regimen will be tried out. The ultimate aim is to investigate the possibilities of developing a therapeutic conception of medical ethics.
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DOI 10.1007/s11019-005-8318-2
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