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Ethical Judgments Limit The Methods Available In The Production Of Knowledge In Both The Arts And The Natural Sciences. Discuss.

1675 words - 7 pages

What is right and what is wrong is a question that has had a profound impact on the production of knowledge. Ethics differ from culture to culture, from era to era. Ethics often can stand in the way of the production of knowledge or be the reason that the knowledge was created in the first place. Ethical judgments limit the production of knowledge in the natural science; however, the arts are not limited in their production of knowledge by ethical judgments.
In the natural sciences, ethics affects the methods that are available for the production of knowledge. This raises the question of should ethical judgment stop the use of certain methodologies that are deemed unethical? The first example of this happening is the use of humans as test subjects. In this instance ethical judgments should and do stop the use of this methodology. This is because of all the potential harm that can come from testing drugs on humans with no knowledge of their effects as this often can be inhumane. Ethical judgments act as a society’s moral compass, and in help society to not use people in harmful ways. Some people disagree and believe that human testing should be allowed because of the wealth of knowledge that can be gained from this type of testing. They cite the myriad of drug recalls with all of their harmful side effects saying that it is all preventable with the use of testing on humans (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services). While it is true that some of these problems can be avoided, many of them would come about with or without human testing because there is no normal case. Each person is different, and therefore each person reacts slightly different to each drug they use. Additionally, society should not have to sacrifice their morality to prevent a few people getting sick. Another example of society’s ethics preventing certain methods of production in the natural sciences is the field known as eugenics. Eugenics is the playing with DNA to create better more perfect humans. The ethics of society have pretty much put a stop to this field of study. This is because of the potential to do great evil in the name of this science. The classic example of this being Hitler and his third Reich. Hitler attempted to biologically engineer a master race of Aryans (Bergman). Society viewed this as discrimination in the highest order and thereby wrong. Contrary to this, many scientists looking into hereditary diseases and disorders hope that this methodology becomes available to them. Once again they cite the incredible amount of knowledge that could be gained from allowing research into this field. They argue that altering people’s genetics codes is the only true way to eradicate these diseases from the human population. However, as great as this may sound, there are still many strides to be made before testing should even be considered. The biggest issue with this is that by doing this someone or some people get to play God and decide how to alter the DNA. There...

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