NanoEthics 10 (1):87-104 (2016)

Authors
N. S. Vaage
Maastricht University
Abstract
Living artworks created with biotechnology raise a range of ethical questions, some of which are unprecedented, others well known from other contexts. These questions are often discussed within the framework of bioethics, the ethics of the life sciences. The basic concern of institutionalised bioethics is to develop and implement ethical guidelines for ethically responsible handling of living material in technological and scientific contexts. Notably, discussions of ethical issues in bioart do not refer to existing discourses on art and morality from the field of aesthetics. The latter framework is primarily concerned with how the moral value of an artwork affects its artistic value. The author argues that a successful integration of these two frameworks will make possible an ethics of bioart that is adequate to its subject matter and relevant for practice. Such an integrated approach can give increased depth to understandings of ethical issues in bioart, inspire new ways of thinking about ethics in relation to art in general and give novel impulses to bioethics and technology assessment. Artworks by the Tissue Culture and Art Project and their reception serve as the empirical starting point for connecting perspectives in art with those of bioethics, developing an ethics for bioart. The author suggests that consideration of the effect of these artworks is vital in validating ethically problematical applications of biotechnology for art. It is argued that the affective, visceral qualities of living artworks may spur the audience to adjust, revise or develop their personal ethical framework.
Keywords Bioethics  Art and morality  Bioart  Validation  Tissue culture and art project
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DOI 10.1007/s11569-016-0253-6
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References found in this work BETA

Of the Standard of Taste.David Hume - 1757 - In Essays Moral, Political, and Literary. Libertyclassics (1987). pp. 226-249.
Moderate Moralism.Noël Carroll - 1996 - British Journal of Aesthetics 36 (3):223-238.
How Medicine Saved the Life of Ethics.Stephen Toulmin - 1982 - Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 25 (4):736-750.
In Praise of Immoral Art.Daniel Jacobson - 1997 - Philosophical Topics 25 (1):155-199.

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