The methods that available in the production of knowledge are limited by the ethical judgments, but the definition of whether the method is ethical or not depends on a couple different things. The first one is the personal judgments. Each person would have different judgments for the same method. However, one personal based judgment cannot be universal. The second one is the social judgment. It is related to the personal judgment. When a personal opinion for a method is agreed by most of people in the society, this opinion would become a social judgment.
One example of ethical limits on natural science is the drug test. Human uses animals to test whether the new drugs are safe or not – which some people think is not ethical to do so. The judgments of the drug test are also divided into two opposite schools: the first school states that any animal test would be unethical; the other school thinks that competing to the benefits the animal tests have on human being, it is ethical.
I personally agree with the second school. As I said, my personal judgment cannot represent a universal judgment, but let’s assume this theory is true. According to the statement “it is ethical because it has bigger benefits on human being”, what used to judge something is ethical or not is the value of benefit it produces. Logically, this means if one ethical issue can have profits that are way bigger than the ethical issue, this issue would be ethical. I know that it sounds ridiculous, but it is true if you think about it. Go back to the drug test example, when a new medicine which can save hundreds of human’s life comes out, who would care about the death of a couple laboratory rats? You may argue with me: “it is because the life of a couple laboratory rats is not that important.” As I said, if anything can have profits that are way bigger than the ethical issue, it could be ethical. One example is the famous paradox: there is a bomb hidden somewhere in a city that is big enough to kill everyone in the city. The police caught a criminal who knows where the bomb is. However, this criminal will not say anything unless the police torture him. We know that torture is a very unethical action, but if you were the police, would you torture him? I believe that most of you would say yes. Compete to thousands of life; a torture seems not that important. I can still give you more examples about this if you want.
Again, what I explained above is my personal judgment but not universal judgment. Nevertheless, if most number of the people in the society agrees with me, then my judgment would be a social judgment. Most of people think about things by using mathematical measuring judgment, so this judgment is more or less universal as a social judgment. That is also the reason why we still have animal tests now.
I consider ethic and math is somehow related – they are both about number. This is true in the nature science area. Ethical judgment is like an inequality equation: on the...