John Gregory 8 1724-1773) and his Lectures on the Duties and Qualifications of a Physician Establishing Modern Medical Ethics on the Base of the Moral Philosophy and the Theory of Science of the Empiric British Enlightenment

Meinolfus Stratling


In 1769/70 the Scottish physician and philosopher John Gregory (1724-1773) published Lectures On The Duties and Qualifications of a Physician. Gregory developed a truely ethical -in the sense of (moral) philosophically based - system of conduct in a physician. His concept of practising and teaching ethics in medicine and science is established on a very broad footing: combining Bacon's (1561-1626) general philosophy of nature and science with both, the general, likewise empirically based moral philosophy of his personal friend David Hume (1711-1776), and with the principles upheld by the so called Common-Sense Philosophy. His Lectures had - particularly via the famous Code of Medical Ethics of Thomas Percival (1740-1804)- a decisive influence on our contemporary concepts of ethics in medicine and science. John Gregory is, without doubt, one of the most important and certainly the most comprehensive among the founders of what is known today as modern Bioethics. 


Key words: John Gregory (1724-1773) - Medical Ethics - British Enlightenment 

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