Ep 6: Beauty as a virtue; Is ugly art less “Good”?

Sean wonders if a thing is inherently better for being beautiful. Ryver counters with the question of who decides what is beautiful. Bruce suggests a evolutionary connection to aesthetics.

Sean asks if there isn’t a “Bigger” or more grand notion of beauty that extends beyond desire. We also learn a little about his “Preferences”. The guys discuss art history and the aesthetics of other cultures both past and present. Sean questions the notion of a universal aesthetic and the guys wonder about how our survival pressures affect that which we appreciate. The guys juxtapose different ideas of beauty. Bruce points out that all cultures have some form of beauty and ponders what that means.

The discussion moves to “Ugly” art and the power inherent in causing reactions both good and bad. The guys get into literature as art and how the grotesque can be as powerful as the beautiful. William S. Burroughs work gets some attention as well as HR Geiger. Discussion breaks out of what the purpose of art is and what that means to the value of beauty. Sean Points to photo journalism as a form of narrative art that uses “Ugly” art as a means to communicate. And the distinction between remembering or preserving and communicating gets tossed around. Ryver brings up how art can help us remember the major events of history and our emotional reactions to them. Music takes the conversation into heavy metal as a chaotic and “Ugly” artistic medium. Bruce suggests a list of art categories: decorative, recording, and cathartic. Sean suggest that propaganda as art is its own category. Bruce asks if this opens the door to advertising as art? Professor Metal tells us about his employees and Ryver talks about propaganda as advertising for ideas. Bruce talks about propaganda as a form of preserved or commemorated idea in a world of quickly changing culture.

Moral Kombat

Sean – Deontology

Bruce – Virtue Ethics

Ryver – Utilitarianism

Khan Bot – Soundboard

“A madman who has threatened to explode several bombs in crowded areas has been apprehended. Unfortunately, he has already planted the bombs and they are scheduled to go off in a short time. It is possible that hundreds, if not thousands, of people may die. The authorities cannot make him divulge the location of the bombs by conventional methods. He refuses to say anything and requests a lawyer to protect his fifth amendment right against self-incrimination. In exasperation, some high level official suggests torture. This would be illegal, of course, but the official thinks that it is nevertheless the right thing to do in this desperate situation. Do you agree? Would it also be morally justifiable to torture the mad bomber’s innocent wife if that is the only way to make him talk?”

The guys all stipulate that torture is ineffective as a means of extracting information.

Ryver comes down in favor of torture if it has the potential to save lives. Bruce refuses to torture on the basis that the torture reflects on him regardless of the outcome. Bruce suggests that consequentialist moral systems are the same means by which one justifies the bombing in the first place. Ryver counters that the situation we are discussing has set values and that torture has at least the potential to save lives. Bruce and Ryver go back and forth a bit over whether we should analyze based on factors outside the dilemma. Ryver suggests that the potential good of many lives outweighs disregarding the rights of one person. Bruce counters that we cant be morally superior if we take bad actions.

Professor Metal rules in favor of Ryver and Kahn Bot tabulates final scores…Kinda.

Sean takes the last word to speak about the relationship between beauty, culture, and meaning in the quickly shifting landscape of the internet.

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  2 comments for “Ep 6: Beauty as a virtue; Is ugly art less “Good”?

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