Friday 28 April 2017

Ethics and Aesthetics

Aesthetics are commonly described as the philosophical consideration of beauty and art.
Ethics are likewise most commonly defined as the principles of right and wrong. However, it should be noted that the field of ethics does not pass judgement, even if individual practitioners do.
The ultimate question ethics considers is 'how?' and it does very little else. It's hard to imagine that the mere existence of death would be an ethical issue, yet the how of death is often the cause of the most fundamental discussions. Murder, suicide, abortion, wars and so on are strongly debated ethical issues, but the quiet passing in her sleep of a 103-year old woman never is.

Then if art is only ever art because it raises questions about how things are made, it must follow that art is an ethical pursuit by definition and consequently only has a surface relationship with aesthetics.
In fact, this is likely to be more true of art that is concerned exclusively with its own production as it only regards the sole ethical subject matter of the 'how', while current art that is considered ethical is in fact rarely more than a rich illustration of earlier expressed opinions and ideas. It can thus be said that art that is involved in political or sociological issues beyond its own context of production is fundamentally aesthetical and therefore merely decorative.