Aesthetics and Ethics: You Can't Have One without the Other

By Taylor, Steven S.; Elmes, Michael B. | Tamara Journal of Critical Organisation Inquiry, September-December 2011 | Go to article overview

Aesthetics and Ethics: You Can't Have One without the Other


Taylor, Steven S., Elmes, Michael B., Tamara Journal of Critical Organisation Inquiry


Special Issue on Aesthetics and Ethics

Editorial paper

As the old song Love and Marriage tells us: you can't have one without the other. Such is the case for aesthetics and ethics and we have too long suffered from the divorce of the two that came with the enlightenment (Wilber, 1998). In this special issue, we sought to mine the rich vein where aesthetics and ethics meet - to look at this relationship that so much of modern organizational scholarship has ignored. Of course, not everyone has ignored it. Brady (1986) broached the subject and concluded that "ethics is fundamentally aesthetic, and the categories of right and wrong ultimately are reduced to the beautiful and ugly (p. 340)". The authors here do not find the relationship to be quite as simple as that, but there is a persistent theme that aesthetics and ethics are bound with each other and with the instrumentality that drives many of the processes and decision factors in business and management.

We start with Bathurst and Edwards' (this issue) illustration of how aesthetics and ethics work together in Aotearoa/New Zealand's Treaty of Waitangi. Using the metaphor of the carver, they consider the Treaty's role in fostering a rich and complex dance among the instrumental, aesthetic, and ethical dimensions of ethical dilemmas in New Zealand - which are applicable to dilemmas in other parts of the world. The tensions within the dance do not resolve, but rather play together in fruitful ways.

Ladkin (this issue) then suggests that moral perception is much like aesthetic perception and managers can be taught moral perception in the way that artists are taught aesthetic perception. Just as artists learn to stay with the evidence of their senses in order to see the world afresh, managers can learn to stay with their senses in order to cultivate their moral perception and see their own world in moral as well as instrumental ways. Yet as with any art, often it requires intention and practice to cultivate the aesthetic sensibility and skill that managers need before they can perceive the moral dimensions of the issues they face.

Finally, Kimball (this issue) offers a first person account of the complex interplay between aesthetics and ethics in her own efforts to make a work of art that included rats. She starts with the idea of creating an artwork that includes live rats running through tubes and wheels, but is quickly faced with both ethical and instrumental issues. Her stoiy shows us a first hand account of Bathurst and Edwards's complex dance of tensions between aesthetic, ethical, and instrumental concerns as well as how an artist practices Ladkin' s understanding of moral perception. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Aesthetics and Ethics: You Can't Have One without the Other
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.