Compare and contrast ethical theories…

photographs, ethics

This is an interesting question… 

Go look at the images, read the story etc… one of the images is above…

The gist of it is that the artist is a photographer whose body of work is images of the people who live in the building across the street from him.  He doesn’t get their permission before he uses their images in his art.

The various ethical theories could break down like this…

Utilitarianism:  As long as the persons who are the subjects of the photo don’t find out OR if the pain of having your privacy invaded is outweighed by the pleasure brought by the art, it’s ok..

Deontology:  IF the photographer has good intentions (i.e. not being a peeping tom or something like that), then it’s morally acceptable.

Social Contract:  We have norms against this sort of invasion of privacy.  The artist violated these norms, thus he was wrong.

Virtue ethics:  part of the work of an artist is to capture the world and communicate using their art.  It seems like that is what’s going on here, so it’s permissible.

Feminism:  in terms of the ethical theory, I’m not so sure there is a lot that feminist ethicists would have to say about it — BUT, they might use these photos as an example of the male gaze that is a function of the patriarchy.


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