Thankfully most of us do not come across dire situations that present a moral dilemma, but it is always a very interesting exercise to consider a dilemma and our reaction to it. So, I now present you with a list of ten agonizing moral dilemmas, in no particular order. Be sure to tell us what you would do in the comments.
The Runaway Trolley: The ethical question that drives Prey
You are an inmate in a concentration camp. A sadistic guard is about to hang your son who tried to escape and wants you to pull the chair from underneath him. What should you do? You are an emergency worker that has just been called to the scene of an accident. When you arrive you see that the car belongs to your wife.
Fearing the worst you rush over to see she is trapped in her car with another man. You reel back in shock, devastated by what her eyes have just told you. As you step back, the wreck in front of you comes into focus. You see your wife is seriously hurt and she needs attention straight away. You look at the seat next to her and see her lover.
It will only take about 5 minutes to stop, but it will mean your wife will definitely die. If you tend to your wife however, the man will bleed to death despite the fact it could have been avoided. You are the network administrator for a rather large company. You have a young family and need your job to support them.
As part of your responsibility as a network administrator is to monitor the emails for the organization. Usually this just means occasionally allow through emails for staff members that have been accidentally blocked by the spam filters. One day you get a helpdesk request from a staff member asking for an email to get released. You recognize the name on the helpdesk request so quickly attend to the problem. You scan the rest of the contents of the email and there is no doubt that she has been having an affair for some time now.
However you feel that by not telling you friend that you are aiding his wife get away with adultery and this troubles you greatly. You have a wonderful daughter. She is 8 years old and has always been a happy outgoing child.
But a while ago something terrible happened, she was raped. You are quite sure that the person who raped her is your neighbor. Your daughter is so traumatized she has stopped speaking, but she in other ways been able to convince you that he is the one. Unfortunately not enough evidence can be found to convict him. You try to put your life back together.
You move to another house and try to help your daughter in any way you can, but it is clear that the experience has ruined her life and that of your family.
One evening you have taken your wife out to dinner at a restaurant when you spot your former neighbor at another table. He is eating alone and looks unhappy.
You quickly finish eating and leave.A particular ethic is an idea or moral belief that influences the behaviour and attitudes of a group of people. Ethics are moral beliefs and rules about right and wrong. When you use ethics with this meaning, it is a plural noun. You use a plural form of a verb with it. Ethics is also the study of questions about what is morally right or wrong.
When ethics has this meaning, it is an uncount noun. You use a singular form of a verb with it. Ethic is never an adjective.
The adjective that means 'relating to ethics' is ethical. A set of principles of right conduct. A theory or a system of moral values: "An ethic of service is at war with a craving for gain" Gregg Easterbrook. Philosophy functioning as singular the philosophical study of the moral value of human conduct and of the rules and principles that ought to govern it; moral philosophy.
See also meta-ethics.6 Hardest 'Would You Rather' Dilemmas Ever
See also philosophy ; values. Also called sensationalism. See also health. Such action was a violation of medical ethics. We are only too ready to believe that ethics is a field where thinking does no good.
3 Famous Moral Dilemmas That Will Really Make You Think
The philosophical study of morality in human conduct, and of the rules which ought to govern it. Switch to new thesaurus. Quotations "True ethics begin where the use of language ceases" [Albert Schweitzer Civilization and Ethics ]. Ethik Moral Verhaltenskodex.
References in classic literature?Take this poll to see how your answers to these classic moral dilemmas compare to everyone else's. Are we all terrible people?! NOTE: Some of the subject matter here is a little dark, but that's what makes these problems so challenging. Proceed at your own risk! You are at your best friend's wedding just an hour before the ceremony is to start. If you tell your friend about the affair, their day will be ruined, but you don't want them to marry a cheater.
What do you do? Source: Listverse. You are an eyewitness to a crime: A man has robbed a bank, but instead of keeping the money for himself, he donates it to a poor orphanage that can now afford to feed, clothe, and care for its children.
Essential Questions: Morality, Ethics, and the Individual
You know who committed the crime. If you go to the authorities with the information, there's a good chance the money will be returned to the bank, leaving a lot of kids in need. You have a job as network administrator for a company that also employs your best friend's husband. One day, your best friend's husband sends you a message asking you to release an email from quarantine.
This requires you to open the email, at which point you discover that it's correspondence between this guy and his secret lover. After releasing the email, you find yourself in a pickle. Your instinct is to tell your best friend about his husband's infidelities, but divulging the contents of company emails is against company policy and you could lose your job.
Once it becomes plain that your best friend found out about his cheating husband through a company email, all trails will inevitably lead to you as the leak. Do you tell him about the indiscretion? Source: PsychoPixi. You've been on a cruise for two days when there's an accident that forces everyone on board to abandon ship.
During the evacuation, one of the boats is damaged, leaving it with a hole that fills it with water. You figure that with 10 people in the boat, you can keep the boat afloat by having nine people scoop the filling water out by hand for 10 minutes while the 10th person rests. After that person's minute rest, he or she will get back to work while another person rests, and so on.
This should keep the boat from sinking long enough for a rescue team to find you as long as it happens within five hours.In this activity you will be presented with 19 different moral scenarios. In each case, you will be asked to make a judgment about what is the morally right thing to do.
Before starting Morality Play, it is important to bear the following in mind: At no time in the activity will your responses to the moral dilemmas be judged to be 'correct' or 'incorrect'. You should respond with what you think is the morally right thing to do, which may not be the same as what you would actually do.
Several questions talk about 'moral obligation'. In this activity, to say you are morally obliged to do something means you must do that thing in order to behave morally. When the moral obligation is 'strong', this means not doing what is obligated of you is a serious wrongdoing; when the obligation is 'weak', failing to do what is obligated of you is still a wrongdoing, but not a serious one.
Finally, remember to read each moral dilemma very carefully. You will find there are similarities between some of the scenarios. However, don't let this lure you into responding without thinking - each scenario needs at least some thought! Home Reports Twitter Feedback Donate. Let's Start! Really Deep Thought The blind willingness to sacrifice people to truth, however, has always been the danger of an ethics abstracted from life.
The activities on this web site have been completed times.Steven Dillon, a gifted philosopher and a former Catholic seminarian, will argue the negative. The eight parts will run as follows:. Both Joe and Steven have agreed to be present in the comment boxes, so if you have a specific question for them, ask away!
Today, each of our two participants submit three questions to his counterpart regarding his opening statement and rebuttal. If you're an atheist commenter, consider sharing your answers to Joe's questions in the comment box, and if you're a Catholic commenter consider answering Steven's. What do you mean by this? If a moral system has no foundation, how is it objective? Question 1 : I was a little surprised at how ambiguous you found the proposition "Agony is intrinsically bad".
It seems to me that we all know what agony is and can recognize that experiences such as agony are bad. Furthermore, you linked to a Wikipedia page about intrinsic value in your opening statement, providing several standardized ways to interpret my proposition, but didn't make use of them.
Be that as it may, I'm curious about what you think of the proposition on its more usual meaning. So, my first question is:.
Q 1 : Where it just means that agony is a bad thing because of what it involves, do you agree that agony is intrinsically bad? Question 2 : On your view, the moral fact that there is goodness is not grounded in or by anything because God is goodness and God is not grounded in or by anything. Yet, in reaction to the position that there are moral facts so fundamental they're in no need of being grounded, you indicate that this is a cop out.
To say there are such facts is to say they're there "just because. This is a self-defeating argument unless you're not taking issue with the position that objective morality is ultimately ungrounded, but with the non-theist's adoption of it.
So, my second question is as follows:. Question 3 : Finally, you infer that Moral Intuitionism is not an objective moral code because intuitions differ.
But, intuition would just be a means of coming to know objective moral codes. My third question is as follows:. Q 3 : Does your proposed means of coming to know objective moral codes not differ among anyone? Image credit: All Things D.Morality is fun to debate. At the end of last December, I posted a list of another 10 dilemmas. By the comments submitted, I realize many did not feel that they had sufficient debatable merit. Therefore, I have posted 10 more, which I think will be more thought provoking and agonizing than my first list.
Please tell us what you would do in each scenario via comments. You are a very skilled doctor with five dying patients, each of whom needs a different organ in order to live. Unfortunately, there are no organs available to perform any of the transplants. It just so happens that you have a sixth dying patient, suffering from a fatal illness, who will die sooner than the other five if not treated. If this sixth patient dies, you will be able to use his organs to save the five other patients.
Would you:. If you chose to administer the medicine, would you still do so even if the medicine will not cure the patient, but, instead, delay his death to some short term future date or time after the five patients will have died? You have witnessed a man rob a bank, but then, he did something completely unusual and unexpected with the money. He donated it to an orphanage that was poor, run-down and lacking in proper food, care, water and amenities. Your best friend is about to get married.
If your friend marries this woman, she is unlikely to be faithful, but on the other hand, if you tell your friend about the affair, you will ruin his wedding. Would you, or would you not, tell your friend of the affair? This girl is an honor student. However, near the end of her grade twelve year, she fell ill with the flu and fell way behind in her school work. She was so desperate about the report that she went online and passed off a report she found on that subject as her own.
Her English teacher caught her and has referred her to you. If you enter on her academic record that she plagiarized, she will likely not be eligible to be accepted into St. What would you do?Moral dilemmas are thought experiments which ask you to imagine a difficult situation and decide what you think the morally correct course of action would be.
Read through these 25 moral dilemmas, and have a think about what you might do in each situation. The Trapped Mining Crew. Heather is part of a four-person mining expedition.
There is a cave-in and the four of them are trapped in the mine. A rock has crushed the legs of one of her crew members and he will die without medical attention.
She is able to calculate that this space has just enough oxygen for three people to survive for 36 hours, but definitely not enough for four people. The only way to save the other crew members is to refuse medical aid to the injured crew member so that there will be just enough oxygen for the rest of the crew to survive.
Should Heather allow the injured crew member to die in order to save the lives of the remaining crew members? A runaway trolley is heading down the tracks toward five workmen who will be killed if the trolley proceeds on its present course. Molly is on a footbridge over the tracks, in between the approaching trolley and the five workmen. Next to her on this footbridge is a stranger who happens to be very large. If she does nothing the trolley will proceed, causing the deaths of the five workmen.
The only way to save the lives of these workmen is to push this stranger off the bridge and onto the tracks below, where his large body will stop the trolley, causing his death. Ken is a doctor. One of his patients, whom he has diagnosed as HIV positive, is about to receive a blood transfusion prior to being released from the hospital. He has told Ken, in the confidence of their doctor-patient relationship, that after he gets his transfusion, and his medicine from Ken, he intends to infect as many people as possible with HIV starting that evening.
Because Ken is bound by doctor-patient confidentiality, there is no legal way to stop this man from carrying out his plan. Even if Ken warned the police, they would not be able to arrest him, since his medical information is protected. It occurs to Ken that he could contaminate his medication by putting an untraceable poison in it that will kill him before he gets a chance to infect others.
Tom is part of a group of ecologists who live in a remote stretch of jungle. The entire group, which includes eight children, has been taken hostage by a group of paramilitary terrorists. One of the terrorists takes a liking to Tom.
He informs Tom that his leader intends to kill him and the rest of the hostages the following morning. He is willing to help Tom and the children escape, but as an act of good faith he wants Tom to torture and kill one of his fellow hostages whom he does not like. If Tom refuses his offer, all the hostages including the children and Tom will die. If he accepts his offer, then the others will die in the morning but Tom and the eight children will escape. Should Tom torture and kill one of his fellow hostages in order to escape from the terrorists and save the lives of the eight children?
Mary is in a hospital lounge waiting to visit a sick friend. A young man sitting next to Mary explains that his father is very ill. The doctors believe that he has a week to live at most. He explains further that his father has a substantial life insurance policy that expires at midnight. If his father dies before midnight, this young man will receive a very large sum of money. After talking with him Mary can tell this man is in desperate need of the money to feed his family.