An Ethical dilemma is a complex situation that often involves an apparent mental conflict between moral imperatives, in which to obey one would result in transgressing another. This is also called an ethical paradox since in moral philosophy, paradox often plays a central role in ethics debates. "Love your neighbour" (Gospel of Matthew 5:43) is sometimes in contradiction to an armed rapist: if he succeeds, you will not be able to love him. But to pre-emptively restrain them is not usually understood as loving. This is one of the classic examples of anethical decision clashing or conflicting with an organismic decision, one that would be made only from the perspective of animal survival: an animal is thought to act only in its immediate perceived bodily self-interests when faced with bodily harm, and to have limited ability to perceive alternatives - see fight-or-flight response. However, human beings have complex social relationships that can't be ignored: If one has an ethical relationship with the neighbour trying to kill you, then, usually, their desire to kill you would likely be the result of mental illness on their part, or stories told to them by others. Such conflicts might be settled by some other path that has strong social support. Societies formed criminal justice systems (some argue also ethical traditions and religions) to defuse just such deep conflicts. Such systems always impose trained judges who are presumed to have an ethical relationship and also a clear obligation to all who come before them. The term dharmasankat is used in Indian philosophy to represent a moral or ethical dilemma. Etymologically, dharma can mean morality, sense of justice, code of conduct, law and other similar concepts; sankat implies a trouble or problem. -------------------------------------------------
Responses to the arguments
Ethical dilemmas are often cited in an attempt to refute an ethical system or moral code, as well as the worldview that encompasses or grows from it. These arguments can be refuted in various ways, for example by showing that the claimed ethical dilemma is only apparent and does not really exist (thus is not a paradox logically), or that the solution to the ethical dilemma involves choosing the greater good and lesser evil (as discussed in value theory), or that the whole framing of the problem is omitting creative alternatives (as inpeacemaking), or (more recently) that situational ethics or situated ethics must apply because the case cannot be removed from context and still be understood. See also case-based reasoningon this process. An alternative to situational ethics is graded absolutism. Perhaps the most commonly cited ethical conflict is that between an imperative or injunction not to steal and one to care for a family that you cannot afford to feed without stolen money. Debates on this often revolve around the availability of alternate means of income or support such as a social safety net, charity, etc. The debate is in its starkest form when framed as stealing food. In Les Misérables Jean Valjean does this and is relentlessly pursued. Under an ethical system in which stealing is always wrong and letting one's family die from starvation is always wrong, a person in such a situation would be forced to commit one wrong to avoid committing another, and be in constant conflict with those whose view of the acts varied. However, there are few legitimate ethical systems in which stealing is more wrong than letting one's family die. Ethical systems do in fact allow for, and sometimes outline, tradeoffs or priorities in decisions. Some have suggested that international law requires this kind of mechanism to resolve whether World Trade Organization (WTO) or Kyoto Protocol takes precedence in deciding whether a WTO notification is valid. That is, whether nations may use trade mechanisms to complain about climate change measures. As there are few...
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