Professional ethics: further comments

J Med Ethics. 1986 Dec;12(4):195-6. doi: 10.1136/jme.12.4.195.


KIE: Downie continues the debate over professional ethics in general, and medical ethics in particular, begun by P. Sieghart (Journal of Medical Ethics 1985 Sep; 11(3): 117-122), and furthered by Downie and Sieghart (JME 1986 Jun; 12(2): 64-66) and R. Gillon (JME 1986 Jun; 12(2): 59-60). Here Downie addresses Gillon's theses that a physician has a special obligation to his patients, that this obligation is partly altruistic, and that it goes beyond that which is required of other persons and occupations. He also answers Sieghart's claim that the public expects a professional to behave altruistically when called upon to act in a professional capacity. Downie defends his view that moral obligations are the same for all and that defending the idea of "true" professions and special "ethics" creates "a cocoon of self-deception which prevents professionals from seeing themselves as others see them."

MeSH terms

  • Altruism*
  • Beneficence*
  • Ethics, Medical*
  • Ethics, Professional*
  • Humans
  • Jurisprudence
  • Medicine
  • Moral Obligations*
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Physicians
  • Social Responsibility*
  • United Kingdom