The metamorphosis of the categorical imperative in medical students

medical students

(Caleb Woods, Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Mr. Lucas Gheller Machado, a 18 year old student at the second year of medicine in Brazil. He is affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writer and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.


In the world sphere, every society reflects behaviors and habits intrinsically related to technological development, even with a notable discrepancy. According to Kant, this is exemplified by the process of formation and adaptation of the ethics of each individual, and the earlier and better the quality of education, the better conduct of the individual in a social group. In this context, circumstances reveal a part of actual society marked by misrepresented ethics, whether short or long term.

At the same time, it is undoubtedly true that ethics has a direct influence in many areas, such as the intense perception in the current health sphere. Therefore, the problem of ethics in medical students arises – with emphasis on professional training, evidencing the challenging performance of medical students in the face of the new technological era.

Firstly, it is important to emphasize that there is an intense devaluation of philosophy in current society, where there is an inversion of concepts, discussions without scientific argumentation and exacerbated neglect of the human sciences. This reflects our generation of pseudo-intellectuals, where the quickest and easiest prevails over the appropriate and ethically correct. Correlating with the medical field, it is proved the exposed through cases of misuse of funds, passive corruption towards political leaders and preference for faster or profitable proceedings, demonstrating the precarious ethical adequation of the student towards society.

Furthermore, like the categorical imperative of Kant and the Aristotelian deductive syllogism, the conduct of medical students must be based on ethical principles in the face of social relations with respect, empathy and commitment. However, what is observed in contemporary Brazil is a unprepared student justified by a structural questionable. This is exemplified by the inability of certain medical students to abdicate their concepts to prioritize the patient’s health in cases that could harm the individual’s physical and the mental integrity.

In order to prepare medical students to deal with the ethical dilemmas of the technological society, educational institutions should foment practical activities – whether simulation or discussion – to enable students to cope with the moral of the society surrounding them and to enable them respect for the ethics of each individual, whether in primary, secondary or tertiary care. In addition, it is necessary to have an alliance between the private sphere, the Federal Government and non-governmental organizations, in order to encourage the practice of philosophical discussions and study of the human sciences, since they allow the respect and understanding of the subjectivity opinion, forming critical individuals for society.

In addition, there must be a consensus between the Federal Government with the institutions, aimed at subsidizing training activities on ethics and awareness-raising in media vehicles. Consequently, we will use existing technology to promote ethical awareness, not by eliminating the technology of society, but modulating the ethics of the individual from the present circumstances. In this way, the balance of medical students will be gradually achieved, allowing a better coping of contemporaneous ethical dilemmas.

About the author

Lucas Gheller Machado is 18 years old and he courses the second year of medicine. Currently, he is a member and analyst of the Nucleus of Scientific Research (NUPEC) by IFMSA Brazil UniCesumar, member of the Academic League of Intensive Medicine of Maringá (LAMIM) and member of the Academic League of Forensic Medical Sciences of Maringá (LAMFMA). In addition, he participates constantly in social actions by Humanizart, aimed at assisting vulnerable populations, and collaborating with humanization in streets and hospitals. His objective is to combine graduation with scientific and artistic development, constituting a formation of solid and essential pillars.

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