Ethical dilemmas, also known as a moral dilemmas, are situations in which there is a choice to be made between two options, neither of which resolves the situation in an ethically acceptable fashion. In such cases, societal and personal ethical guidelines can provide no satisfactory outcome for the chooser.
Ethical dilemmas assume that the chooser will abide by societal norms, such as codes of law or religious teachings, in order to make the choice ethically impossible.
Situation#01: Personal Friendships
Michael had several friends including Roger and Daniel. Roger has recently met and started dating a wonderful lady named Phyllis. He is convinced this is a long term relationship. Unknown to Roger, Michael observed them at a restaurant several days ago and realized Phyllis is the wife of his other friend Daniel.
Michael is deciding whether to tell Roger that Phyllis is married when he receives a call from Daniel. Daniel suspects his wife is having an affair and since they and Michael share many friends and contacts, he asks if Michael has heard anything regarding an affair.
[To whom does Michael owe greater friendship to in this situation? No matter who he tells, he is going to end up hurting one, if not both friends. Does he remain silent and hope his knowledge is never discovered?]
An article on List Verse compiled a list of Top 10 moral dilemmas and asked readers to consider what they would do in those situations. Here is an example of one of the Top 10 ethical dilemmas they proposed:
[A pregnant woman leading a group of people out of a cave on a coast is stuck in the mouth of that cave. In a short time high tide will be upon them, and unless she is unstuck, they will all be drowned except the woman, whose head is out of the cave. Fortunately, (or unfortunately,) someone has with him a stick of dynamite. There seems no way to get the pregnant woman loose without using the dynamite which will inevitably kill her; but if they do not use it everyone will drown. What should they do?]