Featured image of post A Brief Guide to Biomedical Ethics - Part 21

A Brief Guide to Biomedical Ethics - Part 21

A brief review of the basic concepts of Biomedical Ethics. The following concepts will be discussed in this part:


(from Greek ethos - nature, morals) Teaching about morals - a system of norms, principles, values and ideals that regulate the behavior and attitude of a person to society, another person and himself/herself.

Authoritarian ethics

Ethics (and morality) for which the highest value and goal is not the individual, but something external to him: the interests of society or the state, the supreme idea, the leader, God, etc. Man loses his self-value and is seen only as a means to an end. Authoritarian ethics is based on:

  1. irrational authority, the source of which is power over people, on the one hand, and fear, on the other;
  2. it is built on inequality and subordination, on the priority of authority, on the recognition of its right to approval or disapproval from the perspective of its own interest. The main method of moral regulation is an external coercion, which is carried out through the mechanism of subordination: fear, dependence, and violence (physical or moral). It requires a person to focus on public interest (regardless of personal interest), submission to the will of society (or the majority), strict subordination and unification of personal qualities, views and interests, including professional ones. Authoritarian ethics does not accept de-mocracy, individualism and “dissent”. It is the methodological basis for the paternalistic approach in traditional medical ethics and deontology.

Humanistic ethics

This is an ethics focused on the individual, his or her life, freedom and interests. Humanistic ethics considers the human being in his bodily-spiritual wholeness, believing that the foundations of “virtue” lie in the character of a mature and whole person, while the “vice” consists in indifference to one’s self. Fromm, a founding father of Humanistic ethics, therefore claims that “not self-denial and self-love, but love of self, not the negation of the individual, but the affirmation of the truly human self - these are the highest values of humanist ethics”. Humanistic ethics relies on faith in man, his autonomy, independence, freedom and reason, believing that man is capable of distinguishing good and evil independently and of making correct ethical judgments. For Humanistic ethics, man, his life and liberty are the highest value and goal, while everything that serves the self-realization of the human essence is recognized as a means and a guarantee of achieving the goal. The main method of moral regulation in Humanistic ethics - Free conscious choice by man of his own line of behavior based on ethical competence, personal interests, ability to foresee the consequences of his actions and willingness to take responsibility for them. G.e. is based on the principle of individualism, understood as love to oneself, striving for self-affirmation and self-actualization, as a result of which one finds his/her “self”, presents oneself to the world and bears responsibility for oneself, recognizing the same rights for the others. Humanistic ethics is the methodological basis of biomedical ethics as a whole and of the principle of patient autonomy in particular.

Ethics of life

This is a branch of Russian ethical thought in the late 19th-early 20th century, focused on the recognition of the selfvalue of life as a fundamental value, filled with spiritual meaning. Different philosophical concepts interpreted Ethics of life in different ways. Russian religious orthodox ethics (N.F. Fedorov, F.M. Dostoevsky, V.S. Solovyev, N.A. Berdyaev) considered problems of life and death, building a humanistic vector of man’s attitude to the world, to life, to nature. Living ethics (N.K., E.I. Roerich and others) upheld the values of mutual solidarity, mercy and justice. “Cosmic ethics” (K.E. Tsiolkovsky) developed the ideas of panpsychism and immortality of spiritual atoms. The naturalistic trend, oriented on natural sciences, first of all, on biology, substantiated ethics, proceeding from the comprehension of anti-entropy of life as a natural-historical phenomenon, directed to the struggle against the forces of chaos, disorder, death (N.A. Umov). The ethics of altruism (P.A. Kropotkin) was spiritualized by the fact that ethical norms are rooted in the natural world, and the origins of altruism are in the instinct of mutual assistance and sociability inherent in animals. The individual problems of medical ethics were later developed in the works of V.F. Voyno-Yasenetsky, V.I. Vernadsky, A.A. Lyubishchev, D.P. Filatov (ethics of love of life).

Last updated on Dec 14, 2021 23:53 UTC
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