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101 Ethical Dilemmas

‘101 Ethical Dilemmas is witty, clever, imaginative, pithy, and sweeping in scope. It explores many different questions concerning philosophy, ethics, religion and politics, and leaves a great deal of room for further debate and discussion.’ David Resnik, East Carolina University, USA

From overcrowded lifeboats to the censor’s pen, Martin Cohen’s stimulating and amusing dilemmas reveal the subtleties, complexities and downright contradictions that make up the rich tapestry of ethics.

Travelling from DIY babies and breeding experiments by way of ethically dubious chemical factories and the ‘School of Terror’, before finally ending up in the ‘Twinkies courtroom drama’ and Newgate Prison, there is a dilemma for everyone here. Dilemmas from the worlds of medical, business, legal and war ethics, dilemmas in the shape of beautiful and ugly sisters, frog kings, ancient volcanic islands and suspiciously exotic villages.

This book may not help you become a good person, but at least you will have had a good think about it . . .
Martin Cohen is editor of The Philosopher, lecturer and a successful philosophy author and journalist. His bestselling 101 Philosophy Problems, 2nd edition, is also published by Routledge (2001).

101 Ethical Dilemmas
MARTIN COHEN

First published 2003
by Routledge
11 New Fetter Lane, London EC4P 4EE
Simultaneously published in the USA and Canada
by Routledge
29 West 35th Street, New York, NY 10001
Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group
This edition published in the Taylor & Francis e-Library, 2004. © 2003 Martin Cohen
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilised in any form or by any electronic,
mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter
invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any
information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers.
British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data
A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data
Cohen, Martin.
101 ethical dilemmas/Martin Cohen.
p. cm.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
1. Ethics. I. Title: One hundred and one ethical dilemmas. II. Title: One hundred one ethical dilemmas. III. Title.
BJ1025. C66 2003
170-dc21
ISBN 0-203-48055-4 Master e-book ISBN

ISBN 0-203-48064-3 (Adobe eReader Format)
ISBN 0-415-26126-0 (Hbk)
ISBN 0-415-26127-9 (Pbk)

2002036941

To Tessa

‘It isn’t that they can’t see the solution. It is that they can’t see the problem.’ G. K. Chesterton, Scandal of Father Brown

Contents

Forward!

xii

How to use this book

xvii

Four dodgy dilemmas to get started with
1

The lifeboat

2

Sinking further

1

3

The psychologists’ tale

4

Custom is king

2
3

4

And three personal dilemmas which maybe a business ethics
course could help with . . . well, may be
The internet bargain

6

The toaster

7

The Liar

Contents

5

5

6

7

The descent begins . . .
8

The first stage of cruelty

9

Stage 2: free to do otherwise

8
11

10

Penultimate stage: the two tests

12

11

Final Stage: the immortal member

14

Some pretty ancient dilemmas
12

Gyges’ ring

13

The woeful tale of St Augustine

16

14

A balanced tale for the Yellow Emperor

15

The ascetic tale of Chrysippus the Stoic

16

The sensible tale of Epicurus

17

Magnanimous man

18

The magnanimous man in heaven

18

22

23
24

vii

20
21

Anti-social dilemmas
19

Against e-Ville

26

20

Stumped

28

21

Cracked?

29

22

Getting hotter

23

Feeling drained

30
31

Medical ethics
24

Breeding experiments

25

Designer babies

32

26

KwikBaby

27

The downmarket rival

28

Witheringspoon-X disease

29

The hospital’s dilemma

34

35
37
39

40...
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