The explanation of Ethical Dilemmas | Teen Ink

The explanation of Ethical Dilemmas

April 7, 2021
By teapavli SILVER, Tirana, Other
teapavli SILVER, Tirana, Other
7 articles 1 photo 0 comments

Many of you might not know what an ethical dilemma is. An ethical dilemma, sometimes called an ethical paradox, is “a problem in the decision-making process between two possible options, neither of which is absolutely acceptable from an ethical perspective”. Both choices have pros and cons, and you are the one who needs to decide what is wrong or right, based on your beliefs. Let's take for example this situation; your parents have died 6 years ago, and you live in extreme poverty with your sister and your dog. You realize that your sister has a lung disease, but you don't have money to take her to the hospital. One day you are walking along a river and you see a pregnant girl drowning, a bag full of money and your little dog. Neither the pregnant lady or your dog won’t survive if you don’t save one of them. You have only 5 seconds to think, which one are you going to save? Or are you going to walk away with nothing. Making this decision would be very hard for some of us and it is known for sure that other peoples’ choices could be different than yours and that happens because of different conceptions of what the right thing to do is. Here are some examples of different reactions.  

Modern utilitarianism was founded in the 18th century by British philosopher Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill. Utilitarianism states that an action is right if it helps the world, meaning it brings the most amount of happiness for the greatest number of people. It's also important to know that Utilitarianism does not consider personal relationships. Rather than letting your emotions decide you are only using your logic.  For example, in this specific dilemma a utilitarian would choose to save the pregnant woman because the lives of two are greater than the life of one. It means, you must sacrifice your own pleasure which can be to save your sister or your dog, in order to produce more good overall. To solve a dilemma, they suggest putting yourself as a spectator rather than a participant. For example, you need to consider what you would do if you were advising a group of strangers on which one, they would choose. 

Everyone wants to buy fancy cars, clothes, spend our time in nightclubs or watching TV. All these things we do are for ourselves, because we enjoy doing them. According to Hedonism the only thing that is good for us is pleasure and we should minimize pain. The term "hedonism" comes from the Greek "hedone" meaning "pleasure". For a Hedonist there is no such thing as right or wrong, you can do whatever you desire the most as long as it brings you the most amount of pleasure. For the ethical dilemma a hedonist would most likely choose whether to save the money or the dog because it's in his/her interest. Saving your sister from death would give you much more pleasure than saving a woman you have never seen before. It really depends on the person because someone may love his dog more than his sister which is unusual but as I mentioned it doesn't matter as long as It makes you happy. 

Nihilism is the belief that all values are based on nothing, especially moral values, or that life is meaningless. It comes from the Latin word “nihil” meaning nothing. The first philosopher who started exploring nihilism was Friedrich Nietzsche. He believed the world wasn't created for a reason and it doesn't exist for a reason. In this dilemma a nihilist would choose to walk away. It states that everyone is going to die in the end so there is no need to make such decisions. A nihilist doesn't care about hurting people or emotional pain. 
In conclusion, ethical dilemmas will always exist, because of peoples’ different ways of thinking and seeing things. When facing a hard situation, every one of us might make a different choice. Even though every choice you make has a downside, everyone will do what they believe is best for themselves and the people around them. The 35th president of America said, "A man does what he must - in spite of personal consequences, in spite of obstacles and dangers and pressures - and that is the basis of all human morality", which is a great representation of the fact that everyone would do what they think to be the best action. 

Similar Articles


This article has 1 comment.

Lydiaq ELITE said...
on May. 24 2021 at 7:41 pm
Lydiaq ELITE, Somonauk, Illinois
142 articles 42 photos 1009 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Let the disappointments pass
Let the laughter fill your glass
Let your illusions last until they shatter.
Whatever you might hope to find
Among the thoughts that crowd your mind
There won't be many that ever really matter.
But take good care of your mother
And remember to be kind
When the pain of another will serve you to remind."
--Jackson Browne

This is a great introduction for philosophy, hopefully I don't find myself in the horrible situation described above but I guess I should be prepared.