MORAL DILEMMA What is Moral Dilemma? • Cambridge Dictionary: “a situation in which a choice has to be made between possibilities that will al have results you do not want” • Oxford Dictionary: “a situation in which a difficult choice has to be made between two or more alternatives, especially ones that are equally undesirable.” • At this core, a dilemma is a situation in which a difficult choice has to be made between two or more alternatives. More informally, it can mean a difficult situation or problem (as in the insoluble dilemma of adolescence). Some traditionalists object to this weakened use, but it is recorded as early as the first part of the 17th century, and is now widespread and generally acceptable. Not that dilemma is spelled with a double m in the middle, not as –mn-. • Early 16th century (denoting a form of argument involving a choice between equally unfavourable alternatives): via Latin from Greek: Dilemma: di-twice + lemma-premise • Dilemmas are experiences where an agent is confused about the right decision to make because there are several competing values that are seemingly equally important and urgent. Steps in Solving a Moral Dilemma 1. Examine the act in relation to the agent. (The agent and the facts surrounding the act must be assessed.) 2. Determine the consequences of the act. (The principle of consequentialism suggests that one must weight the consequences of a human act to determine whether it is moral or immoral. 3. Identify the intention of the act. (Bad intention is immoral.) 4. Decide in accordance to divine and natural laws which govern moral life. Activity 1 • Using the principles of moral decision-making, answer the following: A day before the wedding of your friend, you discovered that your friend’s spouse-to-be is having an affair with an officemate. You caught them sneaking out of a hotel together. What will you do? Explain your answer. *Tell your friend about the affair but the wedding may not push through and all the preparations will be cancelled. Your friend’s happiness will surely be ruined. *Remain silent; keep the truth from your friend, and allow the wedding to push through so as not to ruin the most important even in your friend’s life. Activity 2 • You are an eyewitness to a robbery. A man robbed a rich woman for him to pay for his son’s crucial operation. You know who committed the crime. If you go to the police to report the crime, there is the strong possibility that the money will be returned to the rich woman. What will you do? Will you report the crime and tell the truth to the police or say nothing since the money will be used for the operation and the son will be saved. Justify your answer. Activity 3 • On your way home one night, you figured in a car accident. While driving your car, you accidentally hit and killed a pedestrian. As you got out of the car, you were intercepted by a crying lady who thought that she was the one who hit and killed the pedestrian. There were only three people on the scene: you, the lady, and the dead person you hit on the road. There were other witnesses. Thus you know that whoever is responsible will be sent to jail. What will you do? Explain your answer.