Historico-philosophical consideration on the social role of French doctor: Medical anthropology of Pierre-Jean-Georges Cabanis (1757-1808) and the French code of medical deontology

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Abstract

Doctor's task cannot be limited to medical practice and research. As a citizen of society, and above all as a professional, doctors should not evade their social responsibilities. This idea was systematically developed and widely diffused throughout Europe by Pierre-Jean-Georges Cabanis (1757-1808). He was not only a doctor, but also a philosopher and a politician who lived at the time of the French Revolution. His philosophy on the nature of medicine and the social role of the doctor is conceptualized in his idea of medical anthropology (science de l'homme, anthropologie). In order to understand why the social role of the doctor was particularly emphasized in and around France, Cabans' medical anthropology should be analyzed in depth. His medical anthropology is composed of three major domains: physiology, ethics, and analysis of ideologies. The following ideas of his medical anthropology can be identified in the current articles of the French code of medical deontology. 1) Health and disease being a social problem, a social solution should be sought (1.6, 1.7, 1.10, 2.37, 2.44, 2.50); 2) Medical practice is in principle not a commercial service for profit, but rather a public service supported by the government's power (1.12, 1.19, 1.21, 2.55, 3.57, 3.67); 3) Doctors should maintain their professional autonomy by establishing and observing the principles of self-regulation (1.1, 1.5, 1.31, 2.50, 5.109, 5.110). Referring to the historical experience of F rench doctors, the Korean medical community should also enter into a broad and fundamental reflection on the nature of medicine and the social role of the doctor.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)104-113
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the Korean Medical Association
Volume57
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Feb 1

Keywords

  • Code of medical deontology
  • France
  • Medical anthropology
  • Pierre-Jean-Georges cabanis
  • Social role

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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