Bioethics or Optimal Ethics?

Alexander Voin

The main problem of bioethics is absent of common language between its representatives. To establish bioetics’s norms bioethicians organized special committees including representatives of various sciences, religions, philosophers and so on.. J.R .Richards writes: "We have a real problem with the devide between secular and religions views of the world and I don't think there is any ascape from that" (1). But this devide exist not only between secular and religoins views, but also between representatives of different directions of philosophy and so on.

It's possible do find a solution based on "clear thinking" by means discussion between representatives of different branches of knowledge (as J.R.Richards propoused) in relatively simple cases, such as the question what is respect in relationship between a physician and his patient. But not in questions, like genetic engineering ,for instance. It is obvious to solve more complicated problems it is not enough discussions in bioethics committees and receiving decisions based on democratic majority, but it is desirable, that these decisions would be substituate on basis of rational bioethics theory.

It is obvious that today boietics as a whole is not a rational theory. Bioethitians base their assertions on all possible theories and teachings, including various religions, and in the same time pretend to be a science. . The problem is, that there are contradictions not only between various religions, but even between various confessions of the same religion, and so more between religion and science. A rational science theory can be builded on few contradicting hypothesises, but we must rebuild these hypothesises by changing their concepts in such a way, that contradictions will be eliminated. As ,for example, the quant theory does through synthesis of wave's and partial's theories of light. But I see no such synthesis with elimination of contradictions in bioethics, not between catolicism and protestantism, not between Froid and Adler and, more of that not between christianity as a whole and psychoanalyze as a whole. And so on.

But is it possible to build at scientific bioethics thiory on priciple?

Here the question, what is a theory and what is a science, which we consider as a kingdom of theories, arises. And what is difference between science and not science, and if exist such difference generally? These aren't simple questions, because in modern philosophy the relativistic point of view on science is adopted. So relativistic, that, as said P. Feierabend: doesn't exist any scientific method, doesn't exist any simple procedure or set of rules, laying in basis of any theory and guaranteing, that it endeed is science work and by this reason may be trusted (2).

Relativisation of science reduces its authority and leads to debilization of society. But the problem for the bioethics which rises from relativisation of science, is the question about possibility of substituation of bioethics norms by means of a rational bioethics theory. For that two things are necessary.

1) The rational science in its own kingdom, in sphere of natural sciences, opposite to opinion of P. Feierabend, must posses the method of substituation of its theories, the method, which sets it appart from non science, the method, which, opposite to opinion of T. Kun and other relativizators of science, isn't changing from paradigma to paradigma, from one field of knowledge to another and from one scientific society to another.

2) This method of substituation must be adopted in humanitarian sphere.

Based on my theory of cognition (3) I have formulated the general method of substituation in rational science and have shown its invariantness through changing of scientific paradigms and so on. This method as to exact sets appart science (rational) from non science. Also I have shown, why relativisators of science - postpositivists W. Quine, T. Kuhn, P. Feirabend, K. Popper, J. Lakatos, were wrong. I have given rational explanation to phenomena and paradoxes of modern science (first of all physics), which were used by relativisators as factual basis for their denying at possibility of general method of substituation in science,for denying connection between concepts of science and experience and so on. Also I have explained, what kind of truth rational science gives us, and nature of connection between concepts of science and experience.(3,4,5,6)

Passing to possibility to spread at general method of substituation on humanitarian sphere it's necessary to clear up at first the question what differs at natural sciences from humanitarians.

First - the wide spreading of quantative methods in natural sciences, what is possible due to properties of objects and phenomena considered by these sciences. Properties, which not only "permits" comparison on more and less between two objects, but have quantative measure (kilograms, metrs and so on). There ia opinion, that humanitarian objects and phenomena not only have no quantative measure, but even comparison on more and less is invalid for them. They really haven't at quantative measure (kilograms of love or metrs of justice), however they possess at principal ability more - less comparison. . We know this women we loved slightly and this - with all heart, this poetry isn't bad, but this one is of genius and so on. We only can't say exactly in which degree this poetry more talanted than that. But physics also don't measure it's objects with absolute exactness. Therefore, difference between natural and humanitarian sciences in this point is only quantative, what don't prevent using methods of natural sciences and concretly the general method of substituation in humanitarian sphere on qualitative level. I have shown how to do that in my book (3).

There is, although, else one side in question of measurement in natural and humanitarian sciences. In natural sciences these measurements are objective in such degree, that practically they don't depend from personality of scientist. But opinions of various people about concrete poetry or justice in concrete case are subjective enough. On individual level this difference is really on principle. But science, as natural, so humanitarian, operates not with individual but with common.. Passing from individual evaluation to middle one for some society or its part, we will receive some objective values, characterized this society or its state at the moment.

The second difference is, that natural sciences adopted at singlemeaning determination of their concepts, singlemeaning connection of these concepts to experience,singlemeaningnesses of postulates, conclusions and their verification. (All these singlemeaningnesses by the way are demands of the general method of substituation). All these singlemeaningnesses aren't known in humanitarian sphere. More of that, they also aren't achievable here on principle, because they are connected with quantative measure of properties, which absent here. But because, as above mentioned, comparison on "more-less" on principle is possible also in humanitarian sphere, there is same level of singlemeaningness, which may be achieved in this sphere also. I mean, that we can show, that concepts or conclusions of some humanitarian theory can be determined more exactly than they are, that means, this theory is not scientific enough. Therefore this difference also don't prevent transferring natural sciences methods to humanitarian sphere (on qualitative level).

But there is also one important difference between natural and humanitarian sciences. That is so called axiology, values, from which natural sciences are abstracting, but for humanitarian they are corner stone. Values, as we know, were changing during history from epoch to epoch and from society to society. And if we change values, we change, as a rule, at all conclusions in humanitarian theory. Than about what general method of substituation and even rationalism as a whole can we speak here?

Let’s examine this question more tightly. Values in humanities, including religion, play the same role as postulates in natural sciences. Natural sciences drow up their conclusions from postulates with help of deduction and the same do humanities from basic values. The same do also theologists proceeding from values - postulates given by God. The only difference is that postulates of natural sciences are conected with experience and due to this obstacle they and conclusions builded on them don’t contradict each other. But values of humanities don’t connected with experience and conclusions received from different values may contradict each other.

The question arises: is it possible to connect humanitarian (including religon) values to experience?

In my book (7) I have shown how to do that. Through the procedure of this connection we also correct meaning religion postulates and eliminate visible contradiction between them (like between "Don’t judge..." and "П did not come to refute law...")

So the using of methods of natural sciences and first of oll the general method of substantiation in sphere of humanities is possible (on qualitative level)

Applying this approach to ethics I have built the theory of optimal moral (3). This theory may be spread also on bioethics. Here, as illustration to my approach I shall tuch only the question of main values of some philosophies and bioethics.

Nitshe said: "… the world is quitly spinning around creators of new values". Really the world is changing and shaping by creators of new values - postulates, but the question is, in which direction it is changing. K.Marx proclaim that equality is supreme and absolute value and half of the world becomes totalitarian socialism. Nitshe himself proclaim his own absolute and supreme value - the will to power and fachism is happened. Existentialism and froidism proclaims, that supreme values are freedom and sensual amusements and as result we received secsual revolution. But why equality or will to power, or freedom - are supreme values?

In nature of human been there is need in all of that and in many other things. But in concrete circomstances some on these needs are less supplied comparatively with others and then they seems superior. That permits to "creators" to convince at society (or its part) in absoluteness of their values, but it doesn't mean, that it is truth and that it will make people happy. And no one from them did not connect superiority of his value to experience.

Bioethics proclaimed that life is supreme value. It sounds convincely in our days, because it's correspond to mass frame of mind today. But equality and freedom, and will to power in their times also sounded convincely. And like it was before the postulate "life is supreme value" doesn't correlate with experience. No doubt, that life is value, but is it supreme value, absolute value? There is no need to overwork with history to see it isn't completely correct. Only the problem of autonasy makes it doubtful. Declaring at sanctity of life not only of human been, but also animals including insects and even plants (as some bioetitians do), we are pretending on bigger sanctity than God Himself.

With life as supreme value next value - the quality of life is tightly connected. In this context the quality of life means material quality, consumtion first of all. No one from adherents of this possition even does not ask himself: what is more important, the quality of people's life or the quality of people themselves. According to the Bible the quality of people, clousness of them to the " image and vision of God" is more important. And if we don't beleive in God (also if we beleive), we must take in account the evolution, in which the quality of individum or kind goes before the quality of life. By the way there is no contradiction between the quality of individum and the quality of its life in evolution. But it is not so in contemporary society. And prefering the quality of life to the quality of people we lead ourselves to dangerous situation as mankind. If we made right ierarhy only between those main values, we receive the key to solution of many bioethics problem.

My work (7) shows it is possible to establish at optimal ierarhy of values, which from one side will correspond to "image and vision of God" as it may be obtained from Bible after eliminating visible contradictions in it, and from another - will correspond to existing experience of mankind, with help of which only it is possible to eliminate these contradictions and to achieve correct understanding of Holy Scripture. .Besides,only in this way we can found at common language between representatives of various religions, various confessions and various branches of philosophy and science,the language,which is so desireble today.


1. "Bioethics, Darwin and Clear Thinking; An Interview with Janet Radclife Richards ", TMM Online (

2. Feyerabend P. "Science in free society". London, №4/1978.

3. Воин А. "Неорационализм", Киев, 1992.

4. Воин А. "Научный рационализм и проблема обоснования", Философские исследования, М. 2000, №3.

5. Boин А. "Абсолютность на дне онтологической относительности", Философские исследования, М. 2001, № 1.

6. Воин А. "Проблема абсолютности - относительности научного познания и единый метод обоснования", Философские исследования, М. 2002, № 2.

7. Воин А. "От Моисея до постмодернизма. Движение идеи". Киев, 2000.

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