As for the present time, the question of the meaning of life and human activity has become decisive in the new bioethical doctrine of saving life on Earth and giving human life a particularly humane beginning, namely, “reverence for life” (A. Schweitzer) . It was here that specialists, scientists and physicians saw the answers to the acute and nontrivial questions of our time about the meaning of preserving life and the sense of worthy death. At present, bioethics covers such key areas in destiny people like problems of abortion, suicide, euthanasia, organ transplants, genetic engineering, new technologies of procreation, mental health, etc. They all have a direct relationship to the philosophical awareness of the role of the meaning of a person’s life in achieving personal and social dignity. The word meaning indicates a conscious manifestation of a person’s interest in a particular thing or phenomenon.
Biomedical ethics is a rapidly developing field of interdisciplinary research. The problems of biomedical ethics are devoted to the activities of major scientific international conferences and a number of specialized journals are being published. Specialized committees and commissions for biomedical ethics are established under the national medical associations, as well as with a number of international organizations such as the Council of Europe, UNESCO, WHO, WMA, etc. In 1996, the Council of Europe adopted the Convention on Human Rights and Biomedicine. With the entry into force of the Convention, the principles and provisions of bioethics acquire the force of law in the member states of the Council of Europe, including Russia.
The main task of bioethics is to promote the identification of various positions on the most complex moral problems, which are avalanche-like in the progress of biomedical science and practice. Is it possible to clone a person? Are attempts to create a new “breed” of people who possess high physical and intellectual qualities are possible with genetic methods? Is it necessary to ask permission from relatives of the deceased at the fence of his organs for transplantation to other people? Can and should the patient be told the truth about an incurable disease? Is euthanasia a crime or an act of charity? Bioethics is designed to promote the search for morally justified and socially acceptable solutions to these and similar issues that face humanity almost daily.
Biomedical ethics is an ethically justified response to the most acute moral problems posed by the progress of medical science and biomedical technologies, adequate to modern social conditions. Protecting the fundamental moral values that determine human existence is a condition for the survival of mankind in the current situation.
Unlike essence, meaning does not belong to the thing itself or to the phenomenon, but is consciously introduced into them by man so that for some they have full meaning, but for others they are meaningless. The subject of the study is the meaning of a thing, object, phenomenon or event, which is prescribed for the acceptance of a collective subject (era, culture, people, collective, etc.) for which the semantic content was once identified or revealed. In many cases, the expression “study of meaning” means a scientific study of the essence (for example, life, health, etc.). The method by which the meaning of a word, action, gesture, etc. is invoked by someone is an understanding of something. So, in philosophy, comprehension of knowledge means giving it a certain meaning in the life of a person that has value or value for him. Therefore, the central theme in traditional ethics and modern bioethics is the realization of the moral basis of the meaning of life.
Moral and legal concepts of health care in our country and around the world reflect today the general desire of citizens to live and act in a healthy physical and moral public condition. This natural desire of people was officially enshrined in the constitutions of states and legal laws, in which it became a humanistic basis in modifying the modern health philosophy – bioethics. It, in fact, demonstrates the growing interest of people to protect their rights and freedoms as a natural vital need, which must be embedded in their minds. Its specific feature as a new modern ethical-legal paradigm, giving people a special humanistic reference to morality and morality in relation to themselves, to themselves and to everything that lives on Earth. It is aimed at comprehension by scientists, physicians and other specialists of its role in the life and work of modern people. She points out the need to increase the personal responsibility of all those who have a professional attitude towards creating favorable conditions for the creative activity of other people and at the same time is aimed at protecting them from various negative life situations, but above all from risky medical manipulations or biomedical experiments. All this is of great importance for determining the vital meaning of people in conditions of expanding and deepening the technogenic civilization.
Bioethics or the ethics of life is a division of applied ethics, a philosophical discipline that studies the problems of morality primarily with respect to a person, determines which actions are morally acceptable and which are unacceptable. Or in other words: bioethics is an organic combination of the latest achievements of the biological science of imedicine with spirituality. In modern society, it has become a sign of civilization.
Adoption of the foundations of bioethics will contribute to the practical realization in society of the principles of Christian life, the construction of a civilization of love and the formation of a healthy lifestyle of citizens. The data of bioethics is an additional impulse for deepening the theological understanding of the dignity of the human person, for they illuminate hitherto unknown aspects of human existence.
Bioethics as a biology of spirituality warns young people of threats to life, which often manifest themselves as selfish pleasures. Bioethics is a set of concepts and principles aimed at improving mankind, protecting human rights and dignity in connection with the revolutionary achievements of modern biology, especially molecular genetics, genetic engineering, decoding of the human and animal genome. Bioethics tries to determine the boundaries of medical intervention of a person, as well as to determine the moral value of medical actions that are being considered. “Becoming and the ever increasing development of bioethics contribute to reflection and dialogue – between believers and non-believers, as well as between adherents of different religions – about the basic ethical issues associated with human life.” Bioethics lays the deep foundation of the “civilization of love and life”, without which the existence of individuals and society loses its most human meaning.
Bioethics encourages the growth of interest in the quality of life, as well as in the environment, which is especially important in societies with a high degree of development, in which people are striving not only to assure themselves of the basic means of life, but to globalize their lives. In modern society, humanity faces a superhuman, dramatic competition between evil and good, between death and life, between the “culture of death” and the “culture of life”. We all participate in this, and therefore we can not shirk from the unconditional duty of responsibility for life. Bioethics is a science that deals with relationships that ethics have with a life-related problem, such as: artificial insemination, genetic manipulation, reproduction in vitro, and the like. Science which puts in a brief relationship of science, such as biology, biomedicine, technology, which is associated with them, which nature is not only ethical, but legal and social. True, the debate is very open between scientists, economists, politicians and church authorities, with the intention of avoiding the separation and isolation of scientific research about philosophical and moral reflection.
All the variety of definitions of biomedical ethics testifies both to the importance of the subject matter of the examination and the lack of a unified approach to terminology. Without pretending to be exclusive, the author believes that a more precise definition of this branch of scientific knowledge should be developed taking into account research on the levels of social regulation and mechanisms for the legal regulation of medical activities. In this regard, the author proposes the following version of the definition of bioethics.
Biomedical ethics is an interdisciplinary science dealing with the study of moral, ethical and social problems of medical activity in the context of applying the latest achievements of medical science and experimental biology in the context of realizing the rights and protecting the legitimate interests of man and citizen.
Summing up the analysis of models of the relationship between medical workers and patients in the context of biomedical ethics, it should be noted that:
– paternalism, as a traditional model for domestic health care model of relationships, gradually gives way to more democratic models of relations between subjects of medico-legal relations;
– the contractual model seems to be the most acceptable form of the relationship between medical workers and patients in the context of the most complete implementation of citizens’ rights and effective legal regulation of medical activities;
– in the process of legal education of medical workers it is necessary to take into account that relations with patients should be based on the principles of contractual relationships strictly regulated by the legislation of the Russian Federation;
– legislative regulation in the field of medical practice should be improved, taking into account the contractual model of the relationship between health care professionals responsible for the quality of medical care, and patients taking part in the process of performing a medical intervention as the forces and capabilities and to implement the recommendations of medical personnel.