The Pursuit of Knowledge at the Cost of Ethics

Essay by sammermanHigh School, 11th gradeA-, August 2014

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Samuel Ammerman

Mr. Lee

Theory Of Knowledge


Ethics and Society

When stem cell research funding was revoked by George W. Bush scholars, scientists and patients around the world cried out, there was an untold amount of potential knowledge and treatment being lost. At the basis of George W. Bush's decision was his own concept of ethics. Ethics are constantly evolving and they are the accepted principles that govern our conduct a profession or interactions; put more informally ethics are a construct of the collective conscious of any given society. As ethics are a construct of society across the globe there are different ethical codes in existence. Ethics are most often used to determine the morality of a given topic; to determine if the topic is acceptable to a specific society. For instance what is acceptable for teens to view in cinema is very different than what a toddler can view in a cinema.

If a topic is found to be objectionable then it is not uncommon for the topic to be censored in part or as a whole. In the instance of the arts many works are censored rather than banned, or the distribution of a material is limited to specific regions. Ethical judgements do limit the production of knowledge in the arts and natural sciences due to the heavy reliance of emotion and faith when making ethical judgements.

If seeing is believing and knowledge is a justified true belief, then when images are censored we lose knowledge. Whereas photography is a form of the arts that gives knowledge, whenever a photograph is censored knowledge is lost. Photographs are most commonly censored as a result of the photo inciting an emotional response or when the photo is perceived to be offensive to someones religion. For instance in 1991 Photographer...