Featured image of post A Brief Guide to Biomedical Ethics - Part 6

A Brief Guide to Biomedical Ethics - Part 6

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

Good and Evil

There are the most general concepts of moral consciousness, distinguishing between the moral and the immoral; a universal ethical characteristic of all human activity and relations. Good is everything that is directed to the creation, preservation, and strengthening of the good; Evil is the destruction of the good. All professional medical codes and oaths, which formulate the main moral principles that define the ideals, motives and actions of doctors, are oriented toward the letter of the letter: they proclaim “The sanctity of life”, “A reverence for life”, “Gratitude to teachers”, “Mutual assistance of colleagues”, the requirements “Do no harm” and “Do not kill”. These norms of goodness must, above all, guide the physician in determining treatment strategies and tactics. In medical ethics, the problem of _Good and Evil _ in specific situations poses ambiguous decisions that are complicated by the fact that in real life there is no absolute Good or absolute Evil. Every action can, to varying degrees, involve both. The task of the doctor is to be able to reveal this degree and to minimize Evil, creating as much as possible Evil.

Voluntariness principle

This the principle of autonomous ethics, which implies the voluntary (independent) decision of the patient or his consent to medical manipulations, provided that he is informed.


(literally, "doing good") This is:

  1. an ethical concept that describes a person’s willingness and ability to follow the good;
  2. a set of mental and intellectual qualities that express a perfect moral ideal;
  3. ability to act in the best possible way in all that concerns pleasures and sufferings and associated with attainment of happiness, identical with the highest good;
  4. way to happiness and essential part of happiness itself (Aristotle);
  5. moral firmness of human will in keeping his duty, which is a moral compulsion from the side of reason, duties to himself and others (I. Kant. Kant). In the sphere of bioethics interests Virtue is connected with moral dilemmas arising in modern biomedicine, substantiation of moral choice in concrete situations of mutual relations between doctor and patient, researcher and test subject in the context of biomedical research.

The principle of trust

This is a principle of autonomous ethics, based on symmetry, reciprocity of the doctor-patient relationship, in which the patient puts himself in the hands of the doctor with faith in his professionalism and good intentions.

Doctors’ (professional) duty

THis is a key concept in medical deontology and medical ethics. A doctor’s professional duty is the fulfillment of all the requirements of his or her work and the achievement of the main goal, which is the success in medical activity and the improvement of the patient’s health, regardless of the conditions and time of providing medical care, of the doctor’s status and his or her attitude toward the patient’s personality.


(from Greek eugenes - pedigree) This is influential scientific trend of the first half of the XX century, which set the task to improve the hereditary characteristics of the human population (physical and intellectual). The methods of Eugenics. were aimed at stopping the genetic degeneration of mankind associated with the development of medicine and social support of individuals, as a result of which the effect of natural selection weakened. Negative Eugenics. defends the idea of depriving inferior citizens (alcoholics, drug addicts, criminals, etc.) of the ability to continue the race and pass on “unworthy” genes. Positive Eugenics sets the task of providing advantages for the reproduction of the most gifted (physically and intellectually) people. In recent decades Eugenics has begun to develop again due to the rapid progress of molecular genetics, cloning and other biomedical research, requiring that ethical and sociocultural factors be taken into account in interfering with hereditary programs, regulating and controlling them for the benefit of the human population.

Living ethics

This is a teaching created by N.K. and E.I. Roerichs in 1924-1938 and developed by a number of Russian representatives of Buddhist thought (E.P. Blavatsky and others). This is an ethics of mutual solidarity, mercy and justice, based on the religious and philosophical values of Buddhism. According to it, our planet has entered the age of Fire, where the role of psychic energies increases, mastering which implies a moral transformation of nature. “Living ethics” Develops a kind of “ethical occultism” - the strengthening of spirituality through selfless moral asceticism and perfection. It is represented by a series of books: “Illumination”, “Community”, “Agni Yoga”, “Heart”, “Brotherhood”, etc.


This is a form of existence of integral high-molecular systems, characterized by metabolism and energy exchange, the ability to reproduce, growth, active regulation of their composition and functions, irritability, adaptability to the environment, etc. However, this definition cannot be considered exhaustive. In biology and medicine, a specific distinction between the living and the lifeless, especially in borderline cases, causes difficulties. Nowadays, the criterion of human life is considered to be the functioning of the brain. Human life is considered in ethics as a natural, i.e. inalienable, inherent right of man from birth, as the highest value; in bioethics, as the main goal of medicine. Revealing the criterion and essence of Life is a central bioethical and professional medical problem, in particular for determining the fate of the embryo, in reanimatology, transplantology, therapeutic cloning and other manipulations with human Life.

Last updated on Dec 14, 2021 21:02 UTC
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