The power of medicine, the power of ethics

Charles Edward Scott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Foucault’s genealogies and archeologies provide occasions in which one may come to know the powers, accidents, and influences that have structured a particular knowledge or discipline. The Birth of the Clinic shows the development of modern medicine in a process by which rational inference and emphasis on the history of a disease are replaced by pathological anatomy. In modern anatomy, the corpse, not reason, became the “space” of modern medical knowledge. In this “space” developed a confederation of dead body, knowledge, trained and noninferential gaze, organic unity, and the increased importance of bodily space instead of physical time. The discussion shows how Foucault’s genealogy of modern medicine is influenced by and overcomes the knowledge that it describes. In this context, his genealogy is also shown to be self-overcoming and to raise important questions for medical ethics when ethical thought is conceived within the structures of knowledge that have been exposed by the genealogy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)335-350
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Medicine and Philosophy (United Kingdom)
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 1987

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Issues, ethics and legal aspects
  • General Medicine
  • Philosophy


Dive into the research topics of 'The power of medicine, the power of ethics'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this