Source of medical ethics

Kenneth Feucht (
Fri, 31 May 96 04:46:00 UT

I do agree with your comments. As I read heavily in the area of medical
ethics, I realize that my own ethical principles come out of the theological
and ethical writings of (primarily) theologians. My own orientation lies
around the writings of St. Augustine, John Calvin, the Puritans, John Murray,
C. vanTil, JJ Davis, John Frame, and DC Jones, while I have a deep
appreciation for the ethical writings of the less than orthodox Stanley
Hauerwas. N. deCameron himself has written an excellent and informative text
on the Hippocratic Oath, which I often reference.
I stand in moderate disagreement with J. Kilner, and my book review in the
last Perspectives described by reasoning for that. Paul Ramsey also writes
well, but I have problems with his ethical methodology, for mostly the same
reason I have a problem with the work of J. Kilner.
Even still, I stick to my statement that physicians are necessary for doing
medical ethics. This is especially true of those physicians who are truly
involved in the warp and woof of medicine. Why is this?
If you read a secular medical ethics text such as that of Beauchamp and
Childress, they take inordinate lengths to convince the readers that ethics
must be a practical endeavor. But, practical ethics is an oxymoron. "Ethics"
is practical philosophy. It is those actions that we do which are informed by
our personal ontology and epistemology. To argue that ethics needs to be
practical is to profoundly misunderstand what we are doing in ethics.
To get back to the original point, pragmatic issues should include the
educated thought of those who are the object of the ethic. This is perhaps why
I joined the medical ethics discussion--I am happy to offer the thought of one
"in the trenches" of medical care.
Deus Vobiscum
Kenneth A. Feucht, MD, PhD, FACS