Not long ago, a student who had taken both the introductory course to ancient Greek philosophy and medical ethics with me and was enrolled in an advanced course in medical ethics, asked me a question which still has me just a little puzzled. The student reminded me that I had been arguing that the principle of "respect for persons" is one of the leading principles for decision-making in contemporary medical ethics, and that I had said in the ancient philosophy course that Aristotle's ethical theory is highly relevant for contemporary ethical theory; she then challenged me to show where we find the principle of respect for persons in Aristotle's ethics. At the time, I rather stumbled around the question; I may have said that Aristotle's contribution to modern ethical theory included his theory of virtues as habits, his account of moral weakness, and in general the teleology of eudaimonia, for example; if Aristotle had little or nothing to say about "respect for persons," his contributions to modern ethical theory would still be great. Although the student at least pretended to be satisfied with my answer, I certainly was not: An answer of that nature fails to explain why Aristotle did not have much to say about "respect for persons," if he did not, or alternatively fails to extract such a theory from his ethical writings. I think that we should be able to do one or the other.



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