- Bioethical Knowledge in the Strategy of Safe Planetary Development:Education and Scientific Research Experience in the Republic of Moldova
Education should be designed to help people understand the nature of man and his relation to the world.Van Rensselaer Potter
V.R. Potter left a great theoretical legacy for mankind—bioethics, the science of survival. Forty-five years later, the scientific world and philosophical community have done little for the practical realisation of this important doctrine by the founder of bioethics and, most of all, little to reveal the essence of the moral component of the strategy of safe development of the planet, the implementation of which is possible through the mechanisms of global bioethics. Interpretation of the latter, especially in the context of a survival strategy is a daunting task. In our article, on the basis of systemic-structural and discursive methods of research, we examine the implementation of theoretical and methodological principles of teaching the foundations (and propaganda) of the ethics of life and scientific research in the field of biological ethics, thus ensuring a [End Page 468] balance of the philosophical (bioethical) and scientific. Using concrete examples from the National Center of Bioethics of Moldova, Department of Philosophy and Bioethics of the MPhSU “N. Testemitanu” from Moldova, we prove that ignoring this essential postulate of teaching bioethics automatically eliminates the possibility of creating a unified concept of bioethics education and scientific research in the ethics of life that can overcome the practice of bioethical pluralism existing today in various parts of the world. This then hampers the initiation and establishment of a global bioethics and consequently the creation of an overall strategy of survival of humanity.
Education in any sphere of human activity is a complex process of grave responsibility, one that requires special attention and innovative approaches from all parties involved, especially those who organise it. Bioethical education is no exception; indeed the problems are only compounded. Yet, as we have already noted (pp. 218–47),3 in Moldova, effective ways of establishing bioethics as an academic and scientific discipline have been found, resulting in considerable progress in a relatively short time.
Bioethics permeated our country and the former Soviet Union in the late 1980s. The response of the scientific community in the early 1990s led a small group of scientists at the Department of Philosophy (since 1999, Department of Philosophy and Bioethics) of the State University of Medicine and Pharmacy “N. Testemitanu”, headed by one of the authors, to lay the groundwork for the introduction of bioethics in various fields, especially in the scientific and educational domains.
Over the past 30–40 years, schools of bioethics have emerged in various parts of the world, each with its own traditions, trends and specialties. As a consequence, the philosophical, methodological and conceptual aspects of bioethics differ in many respects (pp. 8–18).4 These differences are true of curricular and didactic aspects. As such, in bioethics education, we emphasise two fundamental points: (a) never, under any circumstances, question the need to educate, as it is a priority that the younger population have this specific kind of philosophical knowledge; (b) in the process of the diachronic and horizontal translation of bioethical knowledge in society, never deviate from the principle that forms the backbone of education in bioethics—ensure an adequate balance between philosophical and specific scientific knowledge, without which success cannot be achieved.
To implement these methodological (and methodical) postulates, the department selects who teaches this educational discipline to students, masters, residents and doctoral students (since May 2015, the department has hosted a doctoral school instead of a traditional post-graduate school, with its attendant structure [End Page 469] and statute) and who engages in research on biological ethics. In the selection of teaching staff, we are committed to avoiding change or speculative overestimation, for example, we use a clear staffing ratio of 1:3 respectively for medical to philosophical education (pp. 1–63).5 This ratio seems optimal to us. Starting from 2015, the training of highly qualified specialists in this field of science is organised through the doctoral school; before that it was done...