Volume 44, 1998
Joanna G. Patsioti
Aristotelian Perspectives on Social Ethics
I examine the philosophical perspectives of Aristotle on issues of medical ethics and on his social ethics in general, including the moral issues of abortion, euthanasia, and other issues of social ethics such as the issue of cloning. I have chosen the domain of applied ethics as viewed from the Aristotelian point of view precisely because certain issues have been virtually unexamined by scholars. I shall direct attention to certain treatises of the Aristotelian corpus such as On the History of Animals, On the Generation of Animals, On the Soul, The Nicomachean Ethics and The Politics. My main objective is to provide a more systematic account of the Aristotelian perspectives on the above controversial issues and to establish the Stagirite’s main approach to social ethics. For this reason, issues like the notion of personhood, his attitude towards death, and his theory of the will and ethical conduct of a moral citizen-agent will be examined. Throughout this investigation, the close interrelation between philosophy and medicine, both in antiquity and in modern times, will also become more apparent.