[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
May 6, 1974

Seminars in Medical Ethics and Medical Humanism

JAMA. 1974;228(6):734. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03230310044028

The great scientific advances and the increased ability to deal with disease raise social problems undreamed of a half century ago. The relations of medicine to society—the socalled sociology of medicine—is now recognized as a major challenge in medical education and practice. Sociology of medicine is a poorly defined concept, for it merges with numerous other fields—economics, political philosophy, "practical politics" (a very different thing); it relates to humanistic subjects like ethics and history, literature and art, and the nature and development of culture. These subjects are not merely abstract topics, for the economic, cultural, and ethical problems to which they give rise are becoming more and more intrusive and are demanding answers. We can be absolutely certain that answers will be forthcoming, hammered out by irresistible pressures.

There is growing realization that physicians must be equipped to play a part in the process that will eventually find suitable answers.