Is etiquette relevant to medical ethics? Ethics and aesthetics in the works of John Gregory (1724-1773)

Med Health Care Philos. 1999;2(2):181-7. doi: 10.1023/a:1009901419932.


The writings of the Scottish physician and philosopher John Gregory play an important role in the modern codification of medical ethics. It is therefore appropriate to use his work as a historical example in approaching the question how elements of aesthetics were incorporated in 18th century medical ethics. The concept of a "Gentleman" is pivotal to the entire medical ethics of John Gregory as it provides him with the ethical source of the duty to patients. Gregory makes the trustworthiness of the physician a central point of his medical ethics, and it is in this context that Gregory declares good manners as an essential moral quality of a physician. This paper delineates how good manners are ethically justified in Gregory's medical ethics and concludes with an exploration of the importance of Gregory's conception for present day reflection on the inherence of aesthetics in ethical determinations.

Publication types

  • Biography
  • Historical Article

MeSH terms

  • Esthetics / history
  • Ethics, Medical / history*
  • History, 18th Century
  • Humans
  • Physician-Patient Relations*
  • Scotland
  • Social Behavior

Personal name as subject

  • J Gregory