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Ethical Judgements In The Arts And Sciences

1628 words - 7 pages

Both the arts and the sciences have completely different methods to create knowledge, thus the effects ethical judgments have on the arts and the science are different. Ethics limits the production of knowledge in both the arts and natural sciences, however, in the arts ethical judgments do not limit the methods available in the production of knowledge, rather it limits the propagation of knowledge. On the other hand, ethical judgements do limit the methods available in the production of knowledge in the natural sciences, because ethical judgments are self regulated in the natural sciences by reason because of the role of ethics in the methods.
An ethical judgment will be defined as an ...view middle of the document...

However, ethical judgments on the arts are not always based on emotion and natural sciences are also not always based on reason. For example in the natural sciences, there is extensive controversy about stem cells. Many people argue that it is unethical to use embryonic stem-cells because it’s potentially destroying a life. This reasoning is triggered by their emotions since they strongly feel that when the sperm touches the egg a life is created. This ethical judgment might limit the scientists from experimenting and working with stem cells, which limits the production of knowledge, since scientists are reasoning that experimenting with stem cells might be unethical.
Ethical judgments are imposed after the art has been created, meaning that ethical judgments do not limit the methods available on how the arts produce knowledge. But according to my definition, how could someone judge whether a type of art is more ethical than the other? Would the person be quantifying how ethical something might be compared to another? Furthermore, can the society prevent an artist from making art? An artist wouldn’t be stopped from creating art, but he/she would be stopped from presenting the art, in the preponderance of cases. Therefore, ethical judgments would be limiting the propagation of knowledge created by the arts, rather than the creation of art, not allowing a private knowledge to become public. For example, if we look at Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit” it was highly criticized and frowned upon for examining racism during the late 1930’s because of the vivid images condemning racism; the audience’s moral consciousness when hearing this piece disturbed them. Moreover, moral codes change over time, the perspective of what is accepted to be art or not also changes. In simple terms, ethical judgments are limiting the propagation of knowledge of the conception of what’s art at the time. This can also be seen in Wedekind’s play “Spring Awakening”, a play that has been banned many times. The dark storyline with satire, angst, sexuality and the loss of innocence, disturbed many causing the play to be banned. However, the play returned to Broadway, but with a “modern twist”. Even today, the play is not completely accepted. This raises the question of how previous exposure or time for the art to be accepted can change the attitude of society’s ethical judgement towards the arts. So does time play a factor on the purposes of the ars and should it be?
Unlike the natural sciences, it is hard to define what is the purpose of the arts. Personally, the most important theory, is that art teaches us what is right. Under this umbrella, the idea that art is a manifestation of what is being suppressed in reality can be included. This means that artists will portray in their arts the things that are being suppressed or ignored in the society. For example, when homosexuality was greatly suppressed by the society, several artists such as Tom of Finland created art on the...

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