Originally posted by Mephisto2
I always thought of 'ethics' as being on the liabilites side of the human values balance (we should or should not act according to ...) and 'aesthaetics' on the asset side (we benefit from ...).
That is probably too simplistic but it feels aesthetic to me. Here is one example (could be in the science forum):
Einstein used aesthetics as one of his ...[text shortened]... echanic principle of uncertainty based on an ethical argument: God surely would not gamble.
Well, I agree that "ethics" often has a negative feel, as it connotes impositions, whereas "aesthetics" often has a positive feel, as it connotes appreciation. However, construed more broadly, ethics straddles both good and bad (acts and people), and aesthetis straddles both good or bad (acts and objects). So it would be false to assert that ethics only involves costs, and aesthetics benefits.
The Einstein quote is interesting. However, Einstein didn't really base his aethetics in ethics, because he didn't believe in a personal God, and only people can behave ethically or unethically; he's is employing a mixture of analogy and hyperbole by asserting that God would not dare play dice. His underlying argument, however, is directly from aesthetics to truth. However, this is not a good general argument, because truth can be complex and ugly, even, it seems, in physics.
But you raise the issue of either ethics or aesthetics being a source of the other. It seems to be that aesthetics is one source of ethics. For example, I suspect you would agree that having sex with a dead chicken is unethical. (You might feign liberal tolerance: but would you *really* want your daughter going out with a man who did so?). Unfortunately, no ethical theory really explains why. However, it is certainly unaesthetic. So is incest, for nearly everyone. Judgmental homophobics also object to homosexuality, I believe, primarily because it disgusts them. However, aesthetics is not sufficient for ethics: we may still judge incest unacceptable and homosexuality acceptable. Hence, I think that ethics is a kind of aesthetics of aesthetics.