Ethics in Science and Art…

Today we discussed what ‘Ethics’ are or what the term actually means. It’s difficult to define exactly but the term covers many ideas about, for instance, right/wrong, public and personal values, the influence and role of society, religion, law. There are also many other things to discuss when talking about ethics – these ideas are only the start (as we realised in our discussions) and it helps to think about these ideas in a specific context.

We therefore looked at case studies where ethical questions arise before applying the same considerations to our own project. The examples we discussed included the work of Gunther von Hagens and his Bodyworlds exhibition, genetics, cloning and Dolly the Sheep, and the work of artist Damien Hirst.

One of our group talked about graffiti – is it art or vandalism? – which of course raised the issue of another famous contemporary artist’s work – Banksy.

A copy of the presentation is available as a pdf here.

There is an interesting discussion on Gunther von Hagens and the Bodyworlds exhibition on the BBC Website here.

More useful information about Dolly the Sheep can also be found in the science section of the Channel 4’s website.

A longer essay about ethics in science and science education can be downloaded from the US Online Ethics Centre.

A question sheet to help prepare for the next two sessions is available here. The sessions themselves will be held at York Art Gallery.

We would also like some feedback on what we have covered so far! A short and straightforward feedback sheet is available here. Please fill it in and bring to the next session.

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