Health, Fortune, and Moral Authority in Medicine

Christian Bioethics 2 (1):42-65 (1996)
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Abstract

The Christian conviction about Divine Providence encourages a novel account of the moral content of health and authority in the heath care context. While health can be understood as the disposition of a living body to be able to proceed in the world well, as a species of freedom it is informed by the particular projects and concerns that Christians hold deepest. This is due to the fact that health acquires content, and thus becomes desirable as a particular type of good, only in relation to judgments about the good life. Aquinas' reflections concerning the good of health and its partial slavery to fortune reveal a Christian past that dwelt on the intrinsic and instrumental good of health. A rich Christian tradition in which health as intrinsically good, a good of the body, is ordained to the interests of right Christian virtue. Each of these factors affects the character of the health to be pursued and the authority of the physician as determining the ends and means of medicine

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