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Ethical Judgements Essay

analytical Essay
1330 words
1330 words
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Ethical judgements limit the methods available in the production of knowledge in both the arts and the natural sciences. Discuss.

Our perception of moral judgments sometimes affects the ways in which knowledge is produced. In these two areas of knowledge, the natural sciences and the arts, the ways of knowing are different as is the nature of the knowledge produced. Likewise, ethical judgments may or may not limit knowledge in these areas but in different ways. Ethical judgments may lead to questioning the means by which some scientific knowledge is produced. Significant, meaningful works of art are produced only when the artist is able to transmit an emotion to the spectator, reader or listener effectively. This is why powerful emotional reactions to a work of art sometimes produce strong and often opposing ethical judgements which can limit the artist’s opportunities to produce knowledge.

What do we mean by an ethical judgement? There is no clear answer to what these words imply but, from the earliest times, philosophers and religious figures have developed codes of conduct based on ethical principles. Some of these codes are said to come from religion while others relied on human reason to decide what is right or wrong. The codes however, contain more similarities than differences. Immanuel Kant, an 18th century philosopher, believed that our moral values come from our ability to reason and he called this the “categorical imperative” which means that, because our reason tells us that something should be done or avoided, we know what is ethically right or wrong 1. So why is there so often disagreement between what is ethical or unethical in science and the arts? One reason for these strong differences in opinion is becaus...

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...nt limits methods in the output of knowledge. When it comes to the natural sciences it is not a matter of how it is perceived. Ethical judgments in science allow it to evolve and produce more knowledge. It is correct that in some cases they do not allow particular methods to be used therefore prolonging the production of knowledge however the limitations can also impose positive effects in the knowledge produced, such as the development of other methods. Once again this cannot be solved by knowledge as the negative effect of ethical judgment in science contributes to producing a positive effect as well. The main issue with this statement however is the definition of ethical judgements, as there is no clear answer to what it implies. This is because it varies between people due to society they live in, their culture, religion, personal experience and personal opinion.

In this essay, the author

  • Explains that knowledge in the natural sciences is acquired through observation and testing combined with reason. animal rights groups are trying to ban all testing on animals as it is unethical.
  • Argues that ethical judgments limit the methods available in the production of knowledge in both the arts and the natural sciences.
  • Explains that moral judgments limit the methods available in the production of knowledge in both the arts and the natural sciences.
  • Explains how ethical judgements can limit but also advance scientific knowledge.
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