What Is A 'Moral Dilemma'?


3 Answers

Will Martin Profile
Will Martin answered
The exact meaning of a dilemma is a situation in which you have to choose between two equally unpleasant alternatives. There is an old saying "to be on the horns of a dilemma" which suggests how painful this position can be. A moral dilemma is even worse, because whichever option you choose, someone or something will suffer. In a moral dilemma, you have to decide on the morally correct course of action, not just the one you would prefer.

Two well-known examples of moral dilemmas are:

-you can rescue (from a fire, say) either an ancient, priceless object or a diseased, drunken and morally repulsive human being
-a doctor can only operate on one patient - he has to choose between a kind, obscure family man and a gifted artist who is also a horrible human being.

Or a more everyday moral dilemma might be: you have a mentally disturbed relative (could even be your own child.) This person makes life hell for your family and your (other) children are suffering. On the other hand, the relative is happier with you than s/he would be elsewhere. Should you continue to care for this person or place them in an institution?

This kind of painful decision, where every solution involves some kind of loss, is a moral dilemma.
Shaun Rowsell Profile
Shaun Rowsell answered
A moral dilemma is when a person is faced with a decision where making the "right" choice, can go against a persons beliefs or ideas
James Tatum Profile
James Tatum answered
A moral dilemna is a choice that you have to make based on morals. At least one, if not both choices, are would be immoral.

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