. In short, the incorporation of the medical field into
philosophy presents an opportunity for the latter to deal in a significant way
with the questions of human morality and mortality.
The application of moral philosophy to medicine in the discipline of
medical ethics is timely. Contemporary moral philosophy faces a crisis of
xiv i n t r o d u c t i o n
authority, described by Alasdair MacIntyre (1981) in his wellknown book,
After Virtue: A Study in Moral Theory. MacIntyre argues that this crisis of
authority is a breakdown of the Enlightenment attempt to
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torian Jean Starobinski, wrote an accompanying monograph that is the
most complete cultural history of generosity as charity. Starobinski
suggests three historical periods of generosity: ancient, Christian, and
Starobinski’s description of gift giving among the ancient Romans
anticipates Levinas’s emphasis on the nonreciprocity of generosity:
“The act of giving without being paid in return placed a man almost
among the ranks of the divine.” He quotes several ancient writers on
the theme that a person’s spiritual possessions cannot exceed what they
or an error prone form of practical reasoning that, as will be seen, character-
izes debates about intuition in medicine.
Intuition also occupied a central place in the Enlightenment philosopher
Immanuel Kant’s (174–1804) epistemology. In his celebrated Critique of
Pure Reason Kant outlined a theory of synthetic a priori judgments. Accord-
ing to Kant’s conception, pure intuition of space and time made possible
4 c h a p t e r o n e
knowledge of first truths, as well the possibility of outer experience. Thus,
space and time are the “two pure
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Davidoff, E. 1999. “In the Teeth of the Evidence: The Curious Use of
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55. Felicity A. Nussbaum, The Brink of All We Hate: English Satires on Women, 1660– 1750
(Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1984), 57– 76; Leo Braudy, “Remembering
Masculinity: Premature Ejaculation Poetry of the Seventeenth Century,” Michigan
Quarterly Review 33 (1994): 177– 201; Crébillon fi ls (Claude-Prosper Jolyot de Crébillon),
The Sofa (1742), in Michel Feher, ed., The Libertine Reader: Eroticism and Enlightenment in
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Reich was not simply a moral aberration and
poor science, but developed out of a certain medical logic. Thus, the Nazi program of killing was
envisaged as a necessary means of “healing” the body politic, and as such may be considered a
consequence of an Enlightenment ideal of rationality. See Gerhaard Baader, “Heilen und Ver-
nichten: Die Mentalitat der NS-Arzte,” in Vernichten und Heilen, ed. Angelika Ebbinghaus and
Klaud Dorner (Berlin: Aufbau-Verlag, 2001), 275–95.
11. Paul Komesaroff, “Medicine and the Ethical Conditions of Modernity,” in Ethical Inter