Ethics in Art and Science
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Published: Wed, 02 May 2018
“Ethical judgments limit the methods available for the production of knowledge in art and science” refers to the restrictions caused in the two fields in researching and creation due to the judgments caused by ethics upon the methods. It states that the production of knowledge is limited due to the ethical restrictions imposed in its creation. Science research and certain types of art have been banned due to them being considered “unethical” in nature, without any regard for their contribution in the progress of the nation in science and art.
Ethics refer to the standard of morals that are acceptable in society. They define right from wrong according to what people deem appropriate. Ethics help people in getting a clear understanding of what is considered antisocial. They make up an invisible rule book that sets conditions as to what one should and shouldn’t do; it is a universally accepted scheme of behavior and allowances. Morals are the characters or conducts that are considered good or evil. Ethical morality means adhering to what is right and avoiding the things that are usually considered “unacceptable”. Morals and ethics help one become a better human and are a boon in most ways they are taught to all children from a young age and anyone that doesn’t imbibe them is frowned upon and avoided.
Our classification of actions into ethical, justifies acceptable and unethical, unacceptable and classifications unlawful constraints and obstructs the growth of science and art and act as a bane in many ways. To further emphasize these “ethics” certain activities are given harsh names. For example painting of public property, commonly called graffiti, is considered vandalism. Not only does it add art and color to normal uninteresting placed but it also expresses the thoughts of the citizens ,many times it depicts the past history and major events, it gives a deeper view and also a chance for unclaimed artists to express themselves and showcase their capabilities. If people would stop judging “vandalism” they would see the hidden beauty and talent. Doing research on animals is very often tagged as “abusing” the animals, when they are merely being used for experiments to gain more knowledge about them.
Egon Shile once said “to restrict the artist is a crime. It is to murder germinating life” however much one considers a piece of art ‘morally unjustified” one cannot. Impose restrictions upon it as that would truly be murderous. To not appreciate it is a different thing, but to obstruct it would be a crime. Art is a means of communication, expression and knowledge, it cannot be barred.
People’s mindsets and social pressures of what is ethical obstruct the progression of art. Shakespeare would still be making gloves like his father had it not been for his stubbornness. He was headstrong and determined to follow his heart and write, as was his passion. In his time, he had to face lots of problems as writing was not considered to be valuable and people usually carried on the job of their forefathers from generations before, for Shakespeare to dismiss those traditions and follow his heart caused huge problems, it was considered “unethical” for him to go against those traditions and he thus had to face many difficulties. Had Shakespeare succumbed to these pressures and continued in his father’s business as would have been appropriate according to the norms of ethical society, the world would never have got to witness such a great playwright. He would be another common glove maker who lived and died unacknowledged and without causing any difference in the world of art and literature.
In the time of Michelangelo, his paintings were first disapproved due to the nudity. People’s ideals against nudity in drawings cause them to turn blind towards the beauty and the feelings expressed in it. They realized that he was paying his models which were mainly prostitutes and as they considered prostitution sinful, according to them his usage of them as his muse and paying them to pose naked meant his paintings would be having the figures of prostitutes which would corrupt them; this mindset caused him to face many problems in his earlier days. His paintings had major difficulties and being sold, he almost gave up painting due to this, had he done so the Sistine Chapel may never be as famous and honored as it is today. Ethics almost shadowed an artist into giving up his pleasure due to the hardships and disapproval they aroused. His sculptures too were considered evil in the beginning as they expressed holy scenes in a different way and interpreted the Bible differently and unusually unlike the traditional method. His first Madonna and Son was highly insulted while it was still in the process of being made because it was nothing like how the usual sculptures were, but his unusualness and due to breaking the rules of tradition hat bound him, he is now known as a world famous sculptor of the David and his Madonna and Child sculptures are well renowned.
The field of science requires people to be broadminded and willing to take risks. To be able to invent and discover new things scientists require people to be open to new methods of experimenting. To explore the world of science is t break the boundaries of ethic, logic and common things. It is to have a vision and find method to prove it. It requires making theories and looking for ways to prove them. To make discoveries one needs to break away from the commonly accepted beliefs and methods. Thus it is important for the scientists to not be bound by ethics and morals, to progress in the field and provide more accurate and newer information they need to be able to experiment in any way they please without having to seek acceptance.
In Michelangelo’s time post mortems of bodies was illegal and one could be arrested and executed for the same. He was determined and had to hide and cut up bodies to explore them and see the organs. He was probably amongst the first people to hold a heart and brain in his hand. It was against the law and unethical but it was necessary for him to do so to make his sculptures more realistic and authentic. His breaking this ethical law resulted in his growth of knowledge about the human body. He was able to make much superior sculpture once he was able to determine the organs in the body as they helped him give the correct volume and dimension of the body. His discovery expanded his knowledge in science would not have been possible due to the ethical conduct of that era, and he would have never got to explore the human system had he not broken this conduct.
Science and art can progress much further if they are not limited by ethics and morals, certain things must be excused from the usual norms of society as that will be the only way that we will have any progression or there could be mere stagnation in the fields of art and science. Artists must be allowed to break the barriers of ethics and express themselves freely as their works are mainly a source of reflection of today’s society.
Science on the other hand requires a certain amount of freedom and exclusion from the usual ethical norms of society, for science to progress and discoveries to be made, certain allowances and concessions must be given. For humans to know and understand animals better they must be allowed to conduct experiments and study them to decipher their thought process and lifestyle and to understand their reactions and behavior to certain situations. Science must be free from the tethers of human morals and ethics and it must not be judged and obstructed. Limiting and restraining the field of science will only cause us to be ignorant and uninformed about the world.
Ethics are needed to provide a certain safety and to an extent, a united environment without controversies, but it must not interfere with the progress of humanity and studies. It would only cause problems in the future, and if not causing problems it would definitely not do anything worthwhile n contributiong towards providing the solutions.
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