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Ethics Video on Utilitarianism and Categorical Imperative


Red Books
I found the following video, which I would like to recommend as an introduction into Ethics. It is from Harvard University, the lecturer is Michael Sandel. The lecture covers Utilitarianism and the Categorical Imperative and is very understandable. The lecture is very interactive and engaging (both for the audience and for the person viewing the video). The video addresses the classical ethical dilemma of a trolley which is about to crash into a group of 5 people. Would you steer the trolley to a side track on which there is only one person standing?

The complete series contains 12 videos, each one about 1 hour long. Here is a link to the series on youtube.
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Reflections on a TOK Presentation that made me think


Old castle
A few days ago one of my students had her TOK presentation which sparked a thoughtful classroom discussion that filled nearly two periods. For me, as a TOK teacher, both the presentation and the follow-up discussion were a great enjoyment: both reflected the “TOK spirit” of a balanced insightful exploration of the topic.

It’s TOK presentation time. And this presentation started a thoughtful discussion in the classroom. The presentation analyzed different ethical approaches relating to the controversial Body Worlds Exhibition. There are several Youtube Videos online if you want to inform yourself a bit more (search for “Body Worlds”). As a matter of fact, I do recommend you to have a look at the exhibition’s Web site so that you know what I’m talking about. The exhibition shows preserved real human bodies, presented in an artistic way to the public. The corpses are “plastinated”. In this process the body liquids and fats are replaced by plastic. This is a way of preserving the body, and it is important to understand that they do not show plastic models. The specimens are displayed in a way that makes them appear very alive, engaged in various activities, such as sports. Continue reading »

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Of Arts and Ethics


 

Wooden wheel
I’ll be exploring the relationship between arts and ethics. Is it necessary for art to go against moral and ethical conventions in order to be considered “good” art? Where are the limits to the freedom of expression of art? In this episode I’ll be asking questions, and not give answers!

In this episode, I’ll be exploring the relationship between arts and ethics. Some time ago, I read an interesting news report, one which links the two areas of knowledge Arts and Ethics. It’s about an unusual art exhibition. The artist placed 10 kitchen blenders on a long table. The blenders have sharp rotating knives and are normally used to smash vegetables or fruit. But in this case, each one of the blenders contained a live little gold fish swimming in some water. The visitors of the museum now had the choice of turning on the blenders – or not. The visitor, essentially, became the “rulers of the decision on life and death”, too use the words of the artist. According to news reports, some visitors indeed turned on the blenders, killing the fish, making fish soup. Animal rights activists complained, of course, and the police started to get involved as well.

When I first read about this art exhibition, I had to ask myself several questions.

  • Must art provoke? Is it necessary for good art to provoke emotions and a discussion?
  • Continue reading »

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What are Ethical Dilemmas?


 

A bee on a flower
In this edition we will have a look at ethical dilemmas. What are they? What are some different opinions in making an ethical choice? There are several schools of thought in finding a solution to an ethical dilemma. The consequentialist school maintains that actions are either moral or immoral depending on the outcome (the consequence) of the action. An action is morally right, if it results in an increase in the overall happiness for the people. The deontological school states that the outcome of an action is irrelevant. It is the action itself that is moral or immoral. Lying, according to this school, is always wrong, regardless of the outcome. There are arguments for and against each one of these schools of thought.

In this edition we will have a look at ethical dilemmas. What are they? What are some different opinions in making an ethical choice? Listen to find out! Continue reading »

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- Alban Berg -
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