Eduardo Diaz Amado, MD PhD
Associate Professor, Bioethics Institute, Pontifical Xavierian University, Bogota, Colombia
Wednesday, 24 June 2015, 11.00 a.m., Department of Philosophy, Seminar Room 005, 48 Old Elvet, Durham
With the rise and rapid worldwide expansion of bioethics since the mid-20th century the way to define “the ethical” in medicine has changed dramatically. In this context, the term “medical ethics” ended up being associated with what bioethicists themselves depict as the old (unacceptable) style of practising medicine, that is, medical paternalism and medical ethics understood as mere “medical etiquette”. However, in the last few years scholars from different sides, including historians of medicine and bioethicists themselves, have started to adopt a historical approach instead of the bioethicists’ tale to explain the nature and history of medical ethics. This has proven to be a very fruitful undertaking. Inspired by this trend, a collaborative research project on the history of medical ethics in Colombia and the United Kingdom in the 19th century, a comparative study, was launched at the end of 2014. In this presentation I will discuss three aspects related to the Colombian branch of the project: first, the expected contributions of this research initiative not only for bioethics, but also for the development of related fields like history and philosophy of medicine as well as medical humanities; second, the question of how to understand “medical ethics” in a “historical perspective”; and third, an overview of some preliminary findings of the project, in particular that in Colombia shaping the medical profession and building a new country were processes that went hand in hand in this century.