Featured image of post A Brief Guide to Biomedical Ethics - Part 2

A Brief Guide to Biomedical Ethics - Part 2

A brief review of the basic concepts of Biomedical Ethics. Part Two. The following concepts will be discussed in this part: barriers of communication, immortality, unconscious, law of embryonic recapitulation, biomedical ethics, bionics, biopolitics, biodiversity, biosphere, biota, biophilosophy.

Barriers of communication

An obstacles that prevent the contact between the communicator and the recipient, the adequate reception, understanding and assimilation of messages in the process of communication. Within the limits of bioethics are distinguished psychophysical, mental, somatic and others. Barriers of communication in particular in the relationship between the doctor and the patient.

Bentham, Jeremiah (1748-1832)

English philosopher and lawyer, the founder of utilitarianism. In Deontology, or the Science of Morals (1834), he argued that the guiding ethical principle of behavior is utility. The moral ideal, according to Bentham, is “the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people”; the criterion of morality is “the attainment of benefit, advantage, pleasure, goodness and happiness. In his view, every man endeavors to increase the pleasure he receives from life and, accordingly, to decrease suffering. He was the first to introduce the concept of deontology into ethics.


This is a term that refers to the belief in the endlessness of human existence, especially the human soul. There are the following concepts of human culture:

  1. Immortality as joining the world of eternal ideas (the eideitic concept, from the Greek eidos “idea”, existing separately from single things);
  2. Immortality as the resurrection and communion with the grace of the Holy Spirit (the Christian concept, based on the human mortality as the unity of body and spirit);
  3. Immortality as the divine nature of the human being (atoms).
    1. Breath as the preservation of the origins of human nature (atoms, genetic code, etc.) and the frailty (mortality) of human existence (naturalistic concept);
    2. Breath as the preservation of the human personality’s achievements in the memory of mankind (sociocultural concept).


Unconscious is a totality of active mental formations, states, processes, operations and human actions, which are not realized by them, or human state, characterized by the absence of consciousness. In the XX century the most fully the doctrine of Unconscious was developed within the framework of the psychoanalytical concept of Freud. According to Freud, Unconscious is the basic and most substantial system of the human psyche, regulated by the pleasure principle and including various inborn and displaced motives, impulses, desires, wishes, settings, complexes, characterized by lack of consciousness and asociality. In the Unconscious-mode the struggle between Eros (drive and forces of life, sexuality and self-preservation) and Thanatos (drive and forces of death, destruction and aggression) is going on continuously. Considering Unconscious as a source of neurosis and personality conflicts, Freud created psychoanalytic therapy focused on curing patients through awareness of Unconscious.

Law of Embryonic Recapitulation

The biogenetic law or “law of embryonic recapitulation” was put forward by the Austrian scientist Ernst Haeckel (1868), who applied the Darwin theory of evolution to the embryonic development of the child during the mother’s pregnancy. The law states that ontogenesis is a recapitulation of phylogeny, i.e., that each organism during its embryonic development repeats all the stages that its species went through in the course of evolutionary development.

Biomedical ethics

This is an applied ethical discipline, the subject of which is moral attitude of society as a whole and of medical and biology professionals in particular towards a human being, his life, health and death, and it is intended to make their protection a priority right for every human. If bioethics focuses on the pro-life issues of all living beings, the LME specifies the principles of bioethics as applied to Man. Unlike “traditional” medical bioethics, the Biomedical ethics is of an integrative nature, uniting, binding and concentrating general bioethical problems and requirements and, at the same time, it is based on so-called medical mishaps - specific situations, turning them into precedents that become the basis for ethical generalizations, conclusions and subsequent recommendations. This is the situational nature of Biomedical ethics. The main problems of Biomedical ethics are: setting the status and role of moral values in the professional activity of doctors and biologists; solving moral collisions in specific situations arising in the process of biomedical research and treatment; ethical regulation of interpersonal relations in the system of vertical and horizontal links in the sphere of medicine. Biomedical ethics solves its problems not on a professional-corporate basis, but on a broader basis, with the involvement of other professions and the general public.


This is applied science of application of principles, properties, functions and structures of living nature in technical devices and systems (in particular artificial intelligence systems).


This is the doctrine of an integral system of theoretical developments and practical measures to ensure the preservation of life and its diversity on Earth, it also denotes the use of biological approaches, methods and data in politics and political research.


This is the totality of all living species and forms, interconnected, interdependent and necessary for each other, which leads to the requirement of careful attitude to it and human concern for its preservation. This notion presupposes the variability of organisms within species, between species, and the diversity of ecosystems. In 1992 the International Convention on Conservation of Biological Diversity was signed in Rio de Janeiro; the projects of the National strategy on preservation and sustainable use of biological diversity in the Republic of Belarus were developed on the basis of the convention.


Biosphere (from Greek bios - life, sphere) is a shell of the Earth that contains all living organisms and the part of the planet’s substance that is in continuous exchange with them.


Biota (biosphere) (from Greek biote - life):

  1. historically developed combination of plants and animals united by a common area of distribution.
  2. an integral totality of life on Earth.


This is an interdisciplinary trend aimed at studying ontological, gnoseological, methodological, worldview, and axiological problems of being through the prism of studying the phenomenon of life.

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