Analyze an ethical problem or concern depicted in a work of art* from the perspective of (i) Bentham (ii) Kant or (iii) Virginia Held (choose two of these authors
1) You will first, identify ONE ethical problem or concern that the work of art is depicting and explain it. In other words, you will identify an action or a dilemma that is presented or depicted in the artwork. Be clear about who is performing that action or who is stuck in the dilemma.
(Do so in no longer than 150 words)
Example: Ursula LeGuin’s text describes a beautiful town where people are happy and flourishing. But an interesting dilemma arises. That is, the happiness of this town is based on the suffering of a kid. This is problematic because it makes us question if this situation is right or wrong. Is it justifiable that one person suffers for the happiness of the majority?
Example: Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz describes a specific type of oppression that women suffer from men. One of the issues that she talks about is censorship. One can argue that censorship is a moral dilemma because it silences people’s opinions and reassesses one and only one way of seeing the world. We can agree that this is, in principle wrong, but why?
Example: Banksy’s image shows a man erasing prehistoric paintings. It also seems that this man is simply doing his job, it does not strike us as an illegal or vandalistic act. It seems to be a policy and the man is simply obeying such policy. The idea of having a policy that encourages people to erase history seems fundamentally wrong, but why?
Example: Diego Rivera’s mural shows an array of issues that seem to be morally problematic. One of the things that he shows in this painting is forced labor. Forcing people to do unpaid work under the conditions that the mural is depicting is morally wrong, but why
2) Second, pick two authors from this list: (1) Bentham (2) Kant (3) Held, and briefly explain IN YOUR OWN WORDS their theory of ethics (Do not cite outside sources). This is basically giving a reconstruction of the main points that the authors give to say that an action is right or wrong.
3) Third explain what those two authors would say about the action or dilemma you identified in the artwork. Explain what they would say one at a time (separate paragraphs or sections for each). Here are some guiding questions: Would they say that the action is right? Why? Would they say it is wrong? Why? Do they agree or disagree with each other? In other words, based on the ethical theories you described in part 2, you will now apply those to the specific problem or dilemma that you have identified in part 1 of your essay.
4) Finally, explain what YOU think is the right or moral thing to do regarding the action, or dilemma you identified in the artwork. Your response should engage with the explanations of the two authors you picked. Here are some guiding questions: what are they getting right? What are they getting wrong? Why? Basically, what you are doing here is evaluating the theories and giving your own opinion on the ethical issue that you have discussed.