Ethics and the Arts

  • Paul Macneill

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xiii
  2. Paul Macneill
    Pages 1-6
  3. The Arts and Ethics

  4. What Is the Relation Between Ethics and the Arts?

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 165-165
    2. Miles Little
      Pages 179-187
  5. Bioart and Bioethics

  6. Art and Ethics in Relation to Science and Medicine

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 211-211
    2. Claire Hooker
      Pages 213-224
    3. Ruth Little
      Pages 235-246
  7. Conclusion

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 247-247
    2. Paul Macneill
      Pages 249-260
  8. Back Matter
    Pages 261-273

About this book


 This book proposes that the highest expression of ethics is an aesthetic. It suggests that the quintessential performance of any field of practice is an art that captures an ethic beyond any literal statement of values. This is toadvocate for a shift in emphasis,away from current juridical approaches to ethics (ethicalcodes or regulation), toward ethics as an aesthetic practice—away from ethics as a minimal requirement, toward ethics as an aspiration. The book explores the relationship between art and ethics: a subject that has fascinated philosophers from ancient Greece to the present. It explores this relationship in all the arts: literature, the visual arts, film, the performing arts, and music. It also examines current issues raised by ‘hybrid’ artists who are working at the ambiguous intersections between art, bioart and bioethics and challenging ethical limits in working with living materials. In considering these issues the book investigates the potential for art and ethics to be mutually challenged and changed in this meeting.

The book is aimed at artists and students of the arts, who may be interested in approaching ethics and the arts in a new way. It is also aimed at students and teachers of ethics and philosophy, as well as those working in bioethics and the health professions. It will have appeal to the ‘general educated reader’ as being current, of considerable interest, and offering a perspective on ethics that goes beyond a professional context to include questions about how one approaches ethics in one’s own life and practices.


Aesthetics Art Bioethics Dance Ethics Humanities Literature Medical humanities Music Theartre

Editors and affiliations

  • Paul Macneill
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Values, Ethics and the Law in MedicineSydney Medical School, The University of SydneySydneyAustralia

Bibliographic information