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Abstract 摘要

The rational logic of a thing is inevitably a reconstruction of its actual developing process in light of human understanding. That is to say, it is reasonable to investigate the circumstances and characteristics of a subject of matter from the perspective of the unity of its history and logic. Bioethics, a popular discipline in contemporary society, is no exception. This essay examines the shaping and development process of Chinese bioethics in the last thirty years.

Western bioethics was launched in the United States in the early 1970s. The development of Western bioethics reflects reasonable Western religious, moral, and social reactions to changing bioemedical realities in Western society. In other words, Western bioethics embodies a unity of history and logic in the West. However, this is not the case for Chinese bioethics. When Western bioethics was introduced to China in the late 1970s, it was adopted as a fashionable reaction to new biomedical technologies and their divorce from Western religion, culture, and ethics as a system of values. This was partly because there were political and ideological restrictions in China at that time, and partly because Chinese scholars lacked a comprehensive understanding of Western history and culture. Initially then, the Chinese had a very limited understanding of Western bioethics.

This defect has not been effectively overcome through the development of Chinese bioethics in the past thirty years. First, Chinese scholars have continued to introduce and discuss issues addressed in Western bioethics, and yet have ignored the biomedical and health care challenges confronting China. In analyzing Chinese issues, they have tended to copy Western bioethical theories, doctrines, and principles (especially the famous four principles proposed by Beauchamp and Childress), and to apply to them as norms. It seems that they have forgotten that China has long-standing moral traditions that are still pertinent to people’s lives in general, and to bioethical issues in particular. Fortunately, increasing numbers of Chinese scholars have recognized that a legitimate Chinese bioethics requires a reasonable reconstruction of Chinese metaphysical and ethical conceptions for dealing with contemporary Chinese problems. This is the only way to build a Chinese bioethics in its true sense of the unity of history and logic.

任何事物的邏輯體系的構建必須與這個事物的實際發展過程和人類對它的認識過程相統一,才可能是正確的和合理的。所以歷史與邏輯的統一是考察具有哲學特性的生命倫理學學科建構的重要認識視角和方法根據。換言之,中國生命倫理學的形成與發展本質上應該是歷史與邏輯的統一。由於特定歷史階段的中國社會現實思想和人文環境的原因,中國大陸的生命倫理學在其形成階段就存在先天的缺陷,而在其發展過程中又因為先天缺陷沒有得到矯正而導致自身邏輯演化過程的某些失常,在當代中國社會轉型和科學技術快速發展引發生命倫理問題層出不窮的現實面前,中國應當構建具有自身傳統文化基礎和形而上學、真正屬於中國自己的生命倫理學。中國生命倫理學的進步,要在與哲學、與醫學和與社會三方面的對話能力的提升中實現。

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