Ethical dentistry: An origin story

11 January 2022
3 min read
Published:

Tif Qureshi discusses the evolution of ethics and its role in the dental profession.

Ethics is defined as the moral principles that influence a person’s behaviour. The subject of ethics has become part of every profession that exists today and it also runs through society in terms of morals and the idea of right and wrong.

The history of ethics
Ethics began in the fifth century BCE, when Socrates appointed himself to awaken people to the need for rational criticism. As society became less rigid and people from various groups moved into positions of power, they needed a more explicit code of conduct, as they would not have necessarily had access to this training previously. There have also been many ethical advancements throughout the centuries; ethics seems to come into question when an existing societal structure starts to collapse. For instance, the demise of medieval feudalism ushered in the modern age of industrial democracy, the Age of Enlightenment in the 18th Century led to a surge in Romanticism, and philosophers such as Jean-Jacques Rousseau led revolts against political and religious superstitions and in turn challenged people’s morals and beliefs.

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