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June 09, 2011
It's not an easy subject.
The ethical (or moral) dilemma.
With the death of Jack Kervorkian, convicted, many times, of physician-assisted suicide, it's in the news again.
Well, actually, it's never left.
An ethical dilemma isn't easy to define, not for lack of trying.
It usually poses the choice between two "goods" or the lesser of two evils, depending on how you look at it.
It doesn't always have to do with death, but it's prominent.
Do you toss a few out of a lifeboat, if you can save ten?
William Styron wrote "Sophie's Choice," about an alarming choice.
Argued by philosophers and their students under clouds of dense smoke, it goes back at least to Aristotle, Ethics 11.9:
"[To] do this to the right person, to the right extent, at the right time, with the right motive, and in the right way, that is not for every one nor is it easy; wherefore goodness is both rare and laudable and noble."
Or almost impossible.
What is goodness can take hundreds of years alone.
Ethics is a subjective field where everyone has a different idea as to what is right and what is wrong.
Jean-Paul Sartre, who had mother problems himself, posed the classic problem of a young Frenchman torn between the sole emotional and financial support of his mother, but asked to fight against the Germans and what really can one soldier do?
Ethicists say the best way to determine your ethics is to pose theoretical dilemmas to yourself so you can "fine tune" your own ethical/moral compass.
It's a two-pronged approach:
One approach focuses on the practical consequences of what we do; the other concentrates on the actions themselves.
The first school of thought basically can justify anything.
If it's for the greater good, it's fine.
Okay to kill a despot if you can save hundreds of lives in the bargain.
The second claims that some actions are simply wrong. Period.
It's immoral to take a life under any circumstances.
It's wrong to play God.
Even difficult for God.
Thinkers have debated the relative merits of these approaches for centuries, which has probably prevented them from actually having to deal with one in real life.
Or you can just take noted philosopher Yogi Berra's advice.
"When you come to the fork in the road, take it."
The Point of Studying Ethics (Moral Philosophy) garlikov.com Take a look at an interesting article we found.
Top 10 Moral Dilemmas listverse.com Take a look at an interesting article we found.
Resolving an Ethical Dilemma lmu.edu Take a look at an interesting article we found.
How does one test one's moral compass?