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Medicine and the Ethical Problem of Modern Man - Erich Fromm

Medicine and the Ethical Problem of Modern Man - Erich Fromm

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Published by wolverine42100
A short essay by Erich Fromm - Ethical Problem of Modern Man
A short essay by Erich Fromm - Ethical Problem of Modern Man

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Published by: wolverine42100 on Oct 06, 2009
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01/11/2014

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Medicine
and
the
Ethical
Problem
of
Modern
Man
 
169
What
do
we
mean
by
ethics?
The
word
"ethics"
comes
from
a
root
which
means,
origi-
nally,
custom,
and,
eventually,
ethics
comes
to
mean
the
science
dealing
with
the
ideals
of
human
relatedness.
Thisconfusion
between
custom
and
ideals
still
exists
in
the
minds
of
many
people.
Most
people
today
consciously
think
of
ethics
in
terms
of
an
ideal,
of
ethical
norms,
when
they
really
mean
that
that
which
is
the
custom
is
also
that
which
is
good;
while
we
consciously
mean
by
ethical
norm
an
"ought,"
uncon-
sciously
we
really
think
that
the
right
is
that
which
is
ac-
cepted.
And,
as
we
know,
the
accepted
is
also
the
most
 
ERICH
FROMM
170
comfortable
solution,
except
from
the
standpoint
of
one's
conscience.
Sometimes
ethics
refers
only
to
behavior;
then
what
is
meantby
itis
a
codea
code
of
a
certain
desirable
behav-
ior.
Then,
of
course,
you
can
divide
ethics.
You
can
speak
of
medical
ethics,
of
business
ethics,
or
military
ethics.
In
all
these
instances
you
are
really
speaking
of
a
code
of
be-
havior
relating
to,
or
valid
for,
a
certain
situation.
Of
course,
this
is
perfectly
all
right;I
prefer
people
who
have
a
code
to
those
who
do
not,
and
I
prefer
good
codes
to
bad
codes.
But
if
we
mean
by
ethics
what
wasmeant
by
the
term
in
the
great
philosophical
or
religious
tradition,
then
ethics
is
not
a
code
of
behavior
valid
for
certain
fields.
In
this
tradition,
ethics
refers
to
a
particular
orientation
which
is
rooted
in
man
and
which,
therefore,
is
not
valid
in
reference
to
this
or
that
person
or
to
this
or
that
situa-
tion
but
to
all
human
beings.
Indeed,
if
the
Buddhists
are
right,
it
is
valid
not
only
with
regard
to
human
beings
but
for
everything
that
is
alive.
Conscience
is
the
organ
of
this
ethical
attitude;
if
we
speak
ofethicsin
the
sense
of
the
great
philosophical
and
religious
tradition
of
the
East
and
West,
then
ethics
is
not
a
code;
itis
a
matter
of
con-
science.
If
we
accept
this
viewpoint,
then
there
is
no
such
thing
as
medical
ethics.
There
is
only
universal
human
ethics
ap-
plied
to
specific
human
situations.
If,
on
the
other
hand,
we
separate
medical
ethics
from
the
universal
problem
of
ethics,
then
there
is
danger
that
medical
ethics
might
de-generate
into
a
code
which
essentially
serves
thefunction
of
protecting
the
interests
of
the
medical
guild
against
the
patient.
At
this
point
it
is
appropriate
to
say
something
more
about
conscience.
It
is
important
to
keep
in
mind
a
distinc-

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