The internal morality of medicine: Explication and application to managed care

Howard Brody, Franklin G. Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


Some ethical issues facing contemporary medicine cannot be fully understood without addressing medicine's internal morality. Medicine as a profession is characterized by certain moral goals and morally acceptable means for achieving those goals. The list of appropriate goals and means allows some medical actions to be classified as clear violations of the internal morality, and others as borderline or controversial cases. Replies are available for common objections, including the superfluity of internal morality for ethical analysis, the argument that internal morality is merely an apology for medicine's traditional power and authority, and the claim that there is no single, "core" internal morality. The value of addressing the internal morality of medicine may be illustrated by a detailed investigation of ethical issues posed by managed care. Managed care poses some fundamental challenges for medicine's internal morality, but also calls for thoughtful reflection and reconsideration of some traditionally held moral views on patient fidelity in particular.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)384-410
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of Medicine and Philosophy
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Internal morality
  • Managed care
  • Medical ethics
  • Medicine
  • Profession
  • Professional integrity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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