miércoles, 10 de mayo de 2017

ETHICS

Normally when we talk we make no difference between ethics and moral. However, we have studied that ethics is a branch of philosophy that studies the different  moral codes, their origin , fundaments and it also compares them . Besides, when we talk about ethics it is concerning human behaviors. No other animal can ask themselves what’s  right or wrong or what is desirable to do and that is because the most of their behaviors are instinctive. This is not our case. We are responsible of our actions because we can choose them. In other words, just because we are supposed to be free and aware of what we do, we are responsible of our actions. This happens also in law. Imagine a little two year old child who is playing with his brother  and he gives him some house cleaning spray to drink. As a result of it, he dies; but Is the young brother responsible of the murder?......
The answer is no. Because he isn’t aware of what he is doing.
Imagine now this situation a totally drunk man come home, prepares a baby bottle for his child and, as he is completely drunk and out of his mind, when he washes the baby bottle he leaves a lot of detergent in it. As a result, the child dies. Is this man responsible?
Whatever you answer, the two cases  seem different. In the first one, the child wasn’t aware of what he was doing but neither was his duty to know it and ,  most of all, he couldn’t .  Could we say the same about the second scenario?
We are a kind of animal with very little instinct, we are designed to make choices, so we need a code to guide us. That’s why it is impossible not to be moral.  These moral laws don’t refer to what it is but to what it ought to be, but they are not the only law which tell us what we should do. Legal law does it too. In fact the same action can be judged by law and moral and they can agree or disagree. So we have to differentiate between when we are acting by legal reasons and when we do it by moral principles.
In short,  we can say that  moral law has these characteristics:
1.       The sense of obligation comes from external factors.
2.       Law  applies  to everyone in the community.
3.       That’s why they are public and everybody has the right to know them
4.       The law uses penalties to force people to follow the rules and these penalties are already established and known to the public.
On the contrary moral laws have these characteristics:
1.       The sense of obligation comes from the inner self
2.       The law applies only to the person that believe in it.
3.       They are private, namely , they don’t have to be announced.
4.       The penalties are not established because they depend on the moral of the person who judges them.

Finally we can say that law is in the area of heteronomy  and moral is in the area of autonomy

miércoles, 22 de febrero de 2017

Culture and art

Una de las principales características que nos diferencia de otros animales es que somos seres culturales. Tenemos una naturaleza biológica; pero sobre ella construimos otra cultural. De igual modo pasa con el medio. No viviomos en un medio natural, sino que lo hemos adaptado a nuestras necesidades y dotado de un significado cultural. Como vimos, una de las principales herramientas para crear cultura y transmitirla, para idear artefactos y modificar la naturaleza son los símbolos. Ellos sustituyen a la realidad, nos permiten escaparnos de lo inmediato, pensar en cosas ausentes o imaginar las consecuencias de nuestros actos antes de haberlos realizados. Los símbolos, finalmente, enriquecen la realidad con nuevos significados.El arte es una de esas activoidades que existen sólo en el universo cultural. Ningún otro animal crea obras de arte.
Hoy en día el arte tiene algo de gratuito, parece que hacemos arte porque sí, sin más. No obstante el significado y la función del arte ha variado a lo largo de la historia. La palabra arte procede del latín, ars, que, a su vez, traduce el vocablo griego téchne. Para los griegos, romanos y luego durante la Edad Media, téchne era una habilidad, la capacidad de construir algo, ya fuera una casa, estatua... De hecho, hoy día vemos este antiguo significado en la palabra artesano que también procede de ars, alguien capaz de crear con sus propias manos. En concreto, una escultura o una pintura eran entendidas como representaciones, espejos de la realidad y, en ese sentido, eran distintas de la fabricación de un barco. Sin embargo, en todos los casos existían reglas que debían ser observadas.
Sin embargo, durante el Renacimiento el significado fue cambiando: se dejó de considerar arte el trabajo de los artesanos porque el arte, además, debía crear belleza, rasgo que continuó hasta un pasado reciente. En el s. XX algunos pensadores propusieron una aproximación formal a la idea de arte, según la cual líneas, colores y elementos formales eran considerados fundamentales y otros elementos como la belleza o la representación perdieron importancia. De esta modo la forma gana importancia sobre el contenido abriendo las puertas a la abstracción. Además las vanguardias artísticas, especialmente el dadaísmo y el surrealismo, no creían que la belleza fuese una característica necesaria en el arte. El arte debía transformarse como la misma sociedad burguesa en la que se desarrollaba. Era necesario abrior las puertas a un arte más libre, un tipo de arte capaz de transformar la sociedad, donde los hombres fuesen más libres y capaces de desarrollar su poder creativo.
Pero si el arte ya no tiene por qué representar fielmente a la realidad ni tiene por qué ser bello, ¿qué define al arte?
En torno a los setenta apareció la teoría institucional del arte. Esta teoría sostiene que una obra es considerada obra de arte si así lo estiman las figuras representativas de este medio (críticos, galeristas) y/o ocupa los espacios que la sociedad dedica a este fin tales como los museos.
Lo cierto es que una preocupación constante en la filosofía occidental desde Platón ha sido el problema de las definiciones. La idea que subyace a esta preocupación es que sólo conocemos verdaderamente algo si somos capaces de definirlo. Pero esto nos enfrenta a la paradoja de que en ocasiones nos seamos capaces de definir un concepto y, sin embargo, seamos perfectamente capaces de reconocer cuándo no estamos ante él. Lo cual debe suponer que de algún modo tenemos una cierta idea sobre su significado y lo que designa.
El concepto de arte es uno de estos casos. Incluso no siendo capaces de mencionar todas las características que ha de tener una obra para ser arte y que lo diferencia de otra creación humana, parece que reconocemos cuando estamos ante una..

Ejercicios:
Lee los siguientes textos y contesta:
"Una solución a este enredo la dio Wittgenstein con el concepto de parecido de familia, que explicó en su obra póstuma Investigaciones filosóficas.





       One of the main characteristics that makes the difference between us and the other animals is that we are cultural beings. We have a biological nature, but we have created another cultural one.  The same happens with the environment. We live no longer in the natural one. One of fundamental tools to create this space is our symbolic capability. The symbols, as it happens in the language, allow us to think about things that are no present, they allow us to think about the consequences of our actions before we do them, and they enrich reality with new meanings.

                Art is one of these activities that exists only in the cultural world. No other animal create pieces of art. Nowadays, art has something of free, but its meaning has changed over time. The word art comes from the latin word ars, which, in turn, translates the greek word téchne. To the Greeks, Romans and, afterwards, during the Middle Ages, téchne was an ability, the capability to build something such as a house, a statue, a ship…  In particular, a sculpture, a painting was a representation or mirror image of  reality and, of course, it was different  to create a ship. However, in all the cases there were certain rules that had to be observed. Even today we can see this old meaning of art in the word artisan, someone who is able to create something with his own hands.

 However, during the Renaissance this meaning changed.  The work of artisans  was no longer considered art, because art was linked to beauty. This new idea was continued till the modern period.  A number of 20th-century thinkers proposed a formalist approach to art in which lines, colours and other formal qualities were considered as paramount and other elements, beauty or representational aspects, were downplayed or excluded. Thus, form was elevated over content opening the way for the abstractionism. Besides, the artistic avant-gards, specially Dada and Surrealism, didn’t think that beauty were a necessary characteristic of art. Art has to be changed like the bourgeois society had to. It was necessary to create a new art more free. A kind of art able to transform the society in which men were also more free and able to develop their creative power.

But if art is no longer a mirror image of  reality, if it doesn’t have to be beautiful, if it doesn’t has to be in a museum, if many other objects that would have never been in a museum are now in one. What’s art?

In the 1970s appeared the “institutional theory” of art. This theory holds that works of art qualify as such by virtue of having this title given by authorized members of the art world (critics, those responsible for galleries, artists themselves…)

A perennial theme of Western philosophy since Plato has been the pursuit of definitions. The tacit idea is that true knowledge of something depends on being able to define it. But this presents us with a paradox, for those who cannot provide a definition of a given concept are generally able to recognize what it isn’t, which surely requires that they must know, at some level, what it is.

The concept of art present us with such a case. Even if we are not able to mention all the necessary and sufficient conditions for something to count as a work of art, we seem to know what it is.

Exercise:

Read the following texts

“One way out to this maze is provided by Wittgenstein’s notion of family resemblance, which he explains in his posthumously published Philosophical Investigations. Take the word game. We all have a clear idea what games are: we can give examples, make comparisons between different games, arbitrate on borderline cases, and so on. But troubles arise when we attempt to dig deeper and look for some essential meaning or definition that encompasses every instance. For there is no such common denominator: there are lots of thingsvthat games have in common, but there is no single feature that they all share. In short, there is no hidden depth or essential meaning(…)

If we suppose that “art”, like a game, is a family resemblance word, most of our difficulties evaporate. Works of art have many things in common with other works of art: they may express an artist’s inner emotions; they may distil the essence of nature; they may move, frighten or shock us. But if we cast around for some feature that they all possess, we will search in vain; any attempt to define art is misconceived and doomed to fail”

(Ben Dupré 50 Ideas you really need to know)

               

                “They were asking me questions like “Is it art?” and I was saying “Well, if it isn’t art… What the hell is it doing in an art gallery and why are people coming to look at it?”

                (Tracey Emin)

                “No artist desires to prove anything (…) No artist has ethical sympathies. An ethical sympathy in an artist is an unpardonable mannerism of style.

No artist is ever morbid. An artist can express everything.

Thought and language are to the artist instruments of art.

Vice and virtue are to the artist materials for an art(…)

All art is at once surface and symbol.

Those who go beneath the surface do so at their peril. It is the spectator,  and not life, that art really mirrors.

Diversity of opinion about a work of art shows that the work is new, complex and vital.

When critics disagree the artist is in accord with himself.

We can forgive a man for making a useful thing as long a he does not admire it. The only excuse for making a useless thing is that one admires it intensely.

All art is quite useless”

                (Oscar Wilde, The picture of Dorian Gray, preface)

1.       Explain which vision of art is behind  each text

2.       Which one do you agree the most?

3.       Try to explain your own vision about art


martes, 17 de enero de 2017

The problem of the objectiveness


     Somehow, when we talk about science we all think about an objective knowledge, an impartial knowledge that can’t be doubted. However, as we have seen, all the different sciences have changed its theories and, as Popper said, a theory is never completely proved.
     Besides the theoretical problems about the truth in science, there are other many factors that can question this supposed objectivity. As the British Steve Wolgar says. Science, like any other human activity is influenced by historical, social or political circumstances and, what’s more, by the other institutions of the society.  As the scientific research is more and more expensive every day, it depends on private or public investments. So, the government interests or the financial ones can influence it.
     On the other hand, at present, science is closely related to technology. This one takes profit of the scientific progress; but, at the same time, helps science to progress. However, technology is only a practical tool. It gives us the best way to get certain objectives; but it can´t say which of these objectives is desirable or not. That’s way The Frankfurt School suggested the use of rationality able to answer to these new challenges: ethical challenges, environmental challenges and social ones. All the discussions about our responsibility generated the expression “Think Global, Act Local”, which urges people to consider the health of the entire planet and to take action in their own communities and cities.  


Exercises:
What do you think does this sentence mean?

How can we help to get a better world? Mention two local actions in each of these areas: sustainable environment, privacity and social justice