Ethical dilemmas are complex situations where a choice has to be made between two or more alternatives. Both of these options do...
Ethical dilemmas are complex situations where a choice has to be made between two or more alternatives. Both of these options do not resolve the situation in an ethically accepted fashion. Obeying either of them would transgress the other. These moral dilemmas are often invoked to resolve certain paradox or refute an ethical system or moral code.
Here is a list of some dilemmas that places a person in difficult situations. There are no truly ‘correct’ solutions to these situations. You need to compare different moral imperatives and decide upon the one that feels most important and appropriate for the situation.
Do not forget to mention your thoughts on these dilemmas at the end.
All your town people along with you and your baby are being chased by a gang of bad men. They want to kill you all. In order to escape their evil desire, you all hide in a secret place and wait for them to move away. But your baby is about to cough and you know about it. If the bad guys hear it, they will find and kill you and your baby with all townsmen. There are only two choices:
(a) Save yourself and the entire town by killing your baby
(b) Or let you baby cough and get all of you killed
Your partner is diagnosed with a rare disease. A cure has been invented by a druggist living nearby you. He sells the drug ten times higher than the original cost. You try every way out but could not raise money for it. You could raise half the amount. You try to negotiate with the druggist and convince him to pay the amount in installments but he does not agree. All your efforts have failed and your partner does not have much time. Now, you can either
(a) Break into the druggist’s store to steal the medicine and get yourself arrested or
(b) Kill the druggist very secretly so that no one comes to know
You are the best doctor in the city. Six of your patients are very serious. Five among them are in urgent need of organ transplants. You can’t help them because organs are not available for transplant. The sixth patient can be treated if she is given a particular medicine. But if she dies, you can save the lives of other five patients by using the organs of sixth patient. What will you do?
(a) Save patient 6 and let the other five die
(b) Or do not give the desired medical care to patient 6 and donate her organs to the other five
Tony is a data analyst for a casino. He is working after normal business hours for finishing an important project. He finds dome data missing and remembers that the data had been sent to his coworker Robert. He had once seen Robert typing his password unintentionally. Keeping the urgency under consideration, Tony logs into Robert’s system to resend the data himself. He sees an open mail of gambling bets placed by Robert. Casino employees are forbidden to engage in gambling. What shall Tony do now?
(a) Report about Robert’s behavior and thus admit his violation of logging into other person’s system or
(b) Warn Robert to stop his betting and reveal the source of his information or
(c) Ignore Robert’s activities and get his work done
You witness a man robbing your serviceable bank but he does so for making donations to a local orphanage that has been struggling for funding. The money will provide children with appropriate food, clothing and medical care. What should you do?
(a) Report the crime and the money shall be returned to the bank or
(b) Let the children enjoy their basic amenities and you suffer a loss since your valuable have also been stolen from the bank locker
You are the Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) on the scene of a car crash. The injured people in the crash were your spouse and his/her lover that you didn’t know about. Both are gravely injured but your spouse is heavily injured. She may not even be able to pull through. His/her lover has a neck wound that shall be asserted with immediate pressure. Whom do you work on?
(a) Your spouse, who has cheated with you and can’t even pull through or
(b) His/her lover who can be saved but you hate him for the affair with your spouse
A trolley is coming down the tracks. Five people are tied to the tracks. The only way you can rescue these people is to pull the lever, which will direct the train on a different track. But the other track has some other person tied to it. There are only two choices-
(a) Do nothing and let the five people die
(b) Pull the lever and save five instead of one
Your best friend’s wedding ceremony starts in an hour. You discover that your best friend’s spouse-to-be is having an affair and you catch them sneaking out in a room. If you tell your friend about this, their day will be ruined but you don’t even want them to marry a cheater. What do you do?
(a) Tell your best friend and ruin her most dreamy day; but a ruined day is better than a ruined life
(b) Stay mum and participate in your friend’s happiness
Tom hates his wife and wants her to be dead. He successfully achieves this by adding poison to her coffee. Jane is another woman who also hates her husband and wants him dead. Her husband accidentally mixed poison in his coffee, thinking it to be something else. Jane realizes this and she has the cure to save her husband from the poison’s effect but she lets him die.
Was Jane’s failure to act as bitter as a Tom’s action?
A pregnant woman is leading a group of people out of the cave but she gets stuck in the mouth of the cave and the rest are behind her. A high tide will be approaching them in a short span. She is stuck very tightly and cannot be rescued. All the others except her will be drowned. Fortunately, someone has a dynamite stick with them. There seems no way apart from using dynamite to get loose of the pregnant woman, which would apparently kill her but if they don’t use it, the others will drown. What shall be done?
(a) Use the dynamite and kill the pregnant woman along with her innocent unborn child; but this would save the rest of them or
(b) Do not use the dynamite. The woman is stuck and may get rescued with the high tide but the rest will drown
Mary is waiting in a hospital lounge for his sick friend’s visit. A young man sitting next to her explains about his father’s serious illness and that he can survive for maximum one week. He also explains that his father has a life insurance policy that expires at midnight. If the father dies, he and his family would receive a large sum of money which would mean a great deal t them and nothing good will happen if he survives for some more days. The man was in desperate need of money and so he asks Mary to smother his father’s face with a pillow. What should Mary do?
(a) Kill the man’s father which would help them financially and make herself guilty of committing a murder or
(b) Let the man fight with his problems and prove of no help to him
Alan is an employee in the claims department of a hospital. Recent admissions paperwork shows some adjustment required with a patient who is under medication for anxiety and mood swings. Alan is stuck by the patient’s last name. He checks her details and she turns out to be her daughter’s school teacher. Alan cannot violate the confidentiality of hospital’s patients by informing her daughter’s school about the teacher’s mental condition but he also cannot leave her daughter under the guidance of an unstable person. How can Alan reconcile this issue in an ethical manner?
(a) Inform the school about Alan’s daughter’s teacher and thus, violate his employer’s discipline or
(b) Hand over his daughter’s future in danger by not revealing about the unstable teacher
You are a prisoner at concentration camp along with your son. Your son tried to escape but was recaptured and sentenced to hang. The guard orders you to pull the chair from under your son and failure to do so; you would be responsible for some other innocent deaths in the camp along with your son’s death. What way would you like to head to?
(a) Pull the chair from under your son and thus become a helpless father who could not just save his son’s life but also be the one to take his life or
(b) Refuse to pull the chair and be the cause of other innocent deaths
You go out on a vacation with your family at a private beach with no lifeguard. 7 years old daughter and niece of yours who are best friends and eager to go inside water defy your warnings of safety and you soon hear screams of distress. They both are caught in a strong current. Only you are a good swimmer among the family who can save them but you can save them one at a time. Your niece is a poor swimmer and can’t survive for long. Your daughter is a good swimmer but she still needs help and there are only 50% chances that she will hold up until you come back after helping the niece. Whom would you save first?
(a) Save your daughter because you niece will probably die but you can’t lose a child or
(b) Head for your niece first and hope for your daughter to hold long enough till you come back
You have been arrested along with another member of your gang. You have no way to communicate with each other. Police cannot imply major charges on you in the lack of evidences. They offer a bargain with you and your fellow worker. You can -
(a) Either remain silent or
(b) Testify the other member’s crime by betraying your gang
There would be three outcomes to this
(a) If you betray and the other remains silent, you will be set free and he is imprisoned (This also works vice versa)
(b) If you betray the other and he also betrays you, then both serve imprisonment
(c) If both of you remain silent, you both serve imprisonment but for a lesser period as the above
What would you do?
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