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August 5, 1950


JAMA. 1950;143(14):1262. doi:10.1001/jama.1950.02910490040014

Pigman and Carmichael1 discuss in a recent issue of Science the role of tradition in ethical attitudes of scientific workers. Ethical traditions in the past served as a more or less unwritten code of professional ethics. Science today is definitely a vital force for the advancement of society rather than a scholarly pursuit of an individual as in the past. Much of the scientific work at the present is carried out by groups and not by individuals. The interpretation of codification of scientific traditions in terms of modern group research is as yet an unexplored field. The idea is not new to members of the medical profession. Codification of medical ethics began with Hippocrates and was the major consideration at the first meeting of the American Medical Association in 1847. This particular code contains both principles of ethical behavior and means of their enforcement by its members. A number