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The ethics of cultural heritage
The ethics of cultural heritage

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Week 1: Notre-Dame and the ethics of heritage preservation


Cultural heritage – for example, ancient ruins or artefacts and works of art or architecture – can be very important to society. They can be valued for their beauty, their historic significance, and their religious or cultural associations.

We try to protect important heritage, if we can. However, what if we had to choose between protecting heritage and saving human lives? When these goals compete, how should we proceed?

In the first week of this course, you will examine Notre-Dame as a case study exemplifying this dilemma. You will explore the plans to restore the cathedral after the fire in 2019 and their extraordinary cost. You will also assess some of the arguments given both for and against this restoration.