How much should we pay to restore the cathedral of Notre-Dame in Paris? Is it morally right to donate money to this project when there are humanitarian crises happening in other parts of the world? In wartime, how should soldiers make decisions when they are forced to choose between protecting cultural heritage and protecting human beings?
In this free course, The ethics of cultural heritage, you will explore some of the most pressing ethical questions surrounding our treatment of cultural heritage. At the core of these questions is a single puzzle: how can we compare the value of cultural heritage with the value of human life?
Throughout the course, you will interrogate this problem from many vantage points and within many contexts. Is it right for governments to spend their resources on heritage conservation or restoration instead of health care or welfare? Is it right for armies to use or destroy cultural heritage sites if that makes their military objectives easier to achieve? You will discover the complexities of such problems and evaluate the philosophical arguments which have been given in favour of various answers or solutions.
You will be guided through several fascinating case studies, allowing you to ground these theoretical questions in real-world examples. These range from the fire in 2019 which destroyed Notre-Dame Cathedral to the bombing of Monte Cassino Abbey during the Second World War.
By enrolling on this course, you can track your progress and gain a Statement of Participation upon completion. You will also be able to test your knowledge in end-of-week quizzes, and share your own perspective in the opinion polls.