From Big Medical Encyclopedia

ETHICS (Greek ethika, from ethos custom, temper, character) — the philosophical discipline studying questions of morals, morality. In a broader sense the terms «ethics» and «morals», and especially the concepts «ethical» and «moral», are used as synonyms.

The morals are one of the most ancient forms of social regulation of behavior of people and human relationship. Moral instructions, norms and requirements are addressed to each individual, and control of their execution, to-ry wears a uniform of public approval or condemnation of these or those acts, is carried out not by any special instance (that is characteristic of rules of law), and all society and each his member. Acquires the main moral standards of people in the course of education and following to it perceives as the debt. It is moral the developed individual has conscience, i.e. ability to judge independently whether there correspond his acts to the moral standards accepted in society, and is guided by this judgment at the choice of the actions.

Moral and ethical estimates are lawful only in relation to those situations, in to-rykh the person, making this or that act, has a possibility of the choice. Specific acts of the certain individual, these or those lines of his character, its moral appearance in general (an image of its actions, the attitude towards people around, etc.) can be an object of moral assessment. In the set moral standards lean on system of values of this society, supporting and providing its specific embodiment in everyday life.

Attempts of the logical analysis of ethical categories, the first in the history of philosophy, such as justice, virtue, benefit, Ancient Greek philosophers Sokrates and Platon undertook. Aristotle for the first time used the term «ethics» for designation of special area of knowledge. Long time, up to emergence of works of I. Kant, ethics researched not only problems of morals, justification of worthy moral qualities, acts and a way of life of the person, but also developed philosophical anthropology, i.e. the doctrine about essence and human nature. I. Kant showed distinction between two classes of judgments: judgments about real, stating empirically these circumstances and judgments about due (moral requirements and instructions belong to their number), having proved by that the independent status E. among other philosophical disciplines.

One of the main problems E. — justification of morals. A set of the doctrines which were moving forward in the history E., to-rye proposed various solutions of this problem, it is possible to divide into two classes.

Naturalistic concepts belong to the first class, according to the Crimea the basis of morals is made by the «nature» of the person treated vneistorichesk. Their number includes the biologizatorsky theories in a crust, time using evolutionary genetics or ethology — science about behavior of animals. In the first case the morals is considered as means of adaptation to conditions of the environment or as result of natural selection (e.g., genetic determination of moral qualities — altruism or egoism, aggression, etc.); in the second — the phenomena characteristic of intra group and mezhgroup-povy relationship of animals, randomly transfer to human society. Underestimation or ignoring of qualitative distinctions between the person and animals is characteristic of all biolo-gizatorsky concepts. In other naturalistic concepts the morals psikhologizirutsya or sociologists-ziruyetsya (in the latter case the individual in essence ceases to be understood as the subject of moral actions, responsible for the acts).

The second class is made by concepts, according to the Crimea the beginning, such as «highest blessing» at Platon, «the divine law» at Thomas Aquinas or «the absolute idea» at G. W. F. Hegel acts as a basis of morals a nek-swarm transcendental, i.e. external, in relation to human life. People should reveal only the requirements proceeding from this beginning and to follow them in the actions. The interpreted laws of organic evolution quite often act as such proving beginning anyway. According to other theories, requirements of morals are ordered by any authority, napr, a God's will and therefore cannot receive rational justification.

Other problem E. — problem of the general criterion for evaluation of moral sense of acts of man. In the history of ethics as such criterion results and effects were usually considered, to-rye involves the estimated act. Konsekventsializm (Latin of consequentia — an effect) in ethics acted in the form of an evdemonizm, according to Krom moral sense of acts of man is the aspiration to achievement of happiness; hedonism when the pleasure is considered the highest criterion (happiness and pleasure at the same time are, as a rule, interpreted rather widely both in sensual, and in the spiritual plan and, except for primitive egoistical concepts, extend not only to the individual, but also to those who surround it); utilitarizm when evaluation criterion is the advantage of the made acts.

As opposed to a konsekventsializm representatives of the deontological direction in ethics (the deontology in this sense should be distinguished from a medical deontology) put on the first place not effects and results, but motives and intentions of the subject, not practical calculation, but strict execution of a moral duty. From this point of view important first of all the internal relation of the individual to the actions, but not objective results, to-rye often depend not on it, and on external circumstances. Even the positivest act on the effects cannot be justified if the person who made it was guided by low motives.

The Marxist ethics which incorporated and critically rethought all achievements of ethical doctrines of the past emphasize historical and class character of the phenomena of morals and morality. The bourgeois ethical thought is not able to solve the dilemma caused by opposition of an ethical absolutism according to Krom moral standards and values of a neprekhodyashcha, are set to the person once and for all, and the ethical relativism considering empirically fixed distinctions in moral instructions and installations, characteristic of different times and the people as the proof of lack of universal content of morals. From the Marxist, dialectic point of view morals, being historically specific developing form of public consciousness, at the same time always contains elements of the universal importance, and in process of historical development of society these elements become more and more noticeable and powerful. First, the moral of each society always has not only lines, specific, but also general for all mankind; secondly, in connection with progress of public productive forces history of society becomes universal, turning into world history: cultural isolation of the separate nations and nationalities is overcome, cultural contacts and interference amplify that, despite a contradictory way of social development, leads to formation and strengthening of universal universal moral standards, values and ideals.

Marxist ethics connect the mechanism of development of morals with fight of classes as motive power of history. Marxist ethics see progress of morals that in process of transformation of a people at large into an original subject of historical process the circle of objectively free, conscious people steadily extends — are moral responsible makers of history. At the same time during social development for each individual the sphere of the moral choice and responsibility so steadily extends. Expansion of this sphere is promoted in no small measure by scientific and technical progress, in particular progress in the field of biology and medicine. Already now there was real a planning of a family: at what age it is necessary to get children and how many children to have. As a result processes of regulation of population, to-rye before happened spontaneously, became in essential degree to be mediated by conscious decisions of certain members of society that imposes on them moral responsibility to the children and to society in general.

Along with moral standards, uniform for all members of society, ethics study also the specific moral installations operating in various social groups, £ various spheres of relationship between people. So, the special section of ethics is the professional ethics investigating moral aspects of relationship of representatives of any profession among themselves and with surrounding society. There is a number of professions (the medicine also belongs to their number), representatives to-rykh work in continuous and direct contact with nonprofessionals. The last, as a rule, cannot objectively estimate quality and conscientiousness of work of specialists, validity of their actions. Standards of professional ethics though they are realized and fixed first of all at the level of professional consciousness, proceed nevertheless from the society in general protecting interests of each of the members in relationship with specialists. Respect for these norms is guaranteed by the public authority of a profession therefore the professional community, as a rule, carries out moral sanctions against those members, to-rye violate requirements of professional ethics.

Great importance in modern science is represented by a complex of the moral and ethical problems connected with carrying out experiments on the person. Carrying out experiments is a necessary condition of progress of medicine and biology, development and deployment of new methods of treatment and medicines. However experimenting on the person is accompanied by risk for his health, and sometimes and for life. Therefore the general rule is restriction of experiments on the person with a necessary minimum at the maximum use of those opportunities, to-rye give animal experiments, and also modern imitating experiments, in the course to-rykh pilot models of various systems of an organism and diseases are developed.

From the point of view of the imposed ethical requirements, distinguish several types of experiments. The purpose of experiments of the first type is expansion of scientific knowledge of functioning of a human body, separate bodies and systems, about the nature of these or those diseases. Only persons can be involved in such experiments, to-rye showed willingness to participate in them. These persons shall obtain exhaustive information on the purposes of experience and its possible effects and to be rather competent that their participation in it was completely conscious.

Similar experiments are admissible only after careful check on animals of safety of alleged influence, detailed discussion by the competent commission and obtaining permission of Academic medical council of M3 of the USSR. Experiments belong to the second type, estimated effect to-rykh is improvement of a condition of the patient. In this case rather voluntary consent of the examinee. If during such experience there is a situation of the choice between interests of the patient and a research, then the priority shall be given to interests of the patient.

Are absolutely inadmissible, from positions not only medical, but also universal morals, experiments on prisoners, similar to that, to-rye were carried out in Nazi concentration camps or are carried out to a crust, time in the nek-ry capitalist countries. Even if the prisoner agrees to undergo experience, its consent cannot be considered as voluntary. In all cases it is impossible to regard as voluntary and such consent, a cut it is given in exchange for the promise of remuneration (see the Experiment).

Other ethical problems of modern medicine являются^ questions of a medical secret, behavior of the doctor at a bed of the death-marked patient, criteria of definition of death, relationship of medics among themselves in the course of treatment of the patient, etc. (see the Deontology medical, Ethics medical).

Bibliography: Marx K. and E N of e l with F.g of the Composition, the 2nd prod., t. 20, page 95, t. 21, page 298; Drobnitsky O. G. Concept of morals, M., 1974; Moscow criminal investigation department D. AA. The principles of a ztika, the lane with English, M., 1984; Frolov I. T. and Yudin of B. G. Etik of science, Vopr. philosophies, No. 2, page 62, 1985; Shishkin A. F. From history of ethical doctrines, M., 1959; it, Human nature and morality, M., 1979. See also bibliogr. to St. Ethics medical. B. G. Yudin.