Philosophy of the Arts


Aesthetic or ethical dilemmas

The challenge seems to be: to find the proper formulation of some set of alternatives so that it becomes clear that a dilemma is at stake.

Von Hagens’ plastinates

Urvashi didn’t perceive a dilemma in the case of Von Hagens’ plastinates (the plastified corpses), and this is interesting in itself.
If there is a dilemma here, who might it be a dilemma for?

  1. Certainly not for Von hagens, who rejoices his powers to manipulate human corpses.
  2. Not, perhaps, for the body-spenders, as they have filled out a form, making a clear-cut decision, and, what’s more: they are not around for the emotional test: they are not going to feel remorse or guilt.
  3. What about other people involved: such as the ones who want to mourn the deceased, and do not want to share this mourning with just about anybody who payed a ticket at the museum entrance.
  4. What about … people who hold certain moral principles (if one must call them that) regarding the remains of dead people, and the possibility these hold for the surviving relatives to get to grips with their death?
  5. What about humanity? (Isn’t humanity justified in protesting cannibalism, even if cannibals only eat the enemies they defeated? They claim a right, like the body-spenders themselves)

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