In the Greek is where we can say that the etymological origin of the term dilemma is found, which we are going to analyze in depth below. And it is that it is made up of two words of that language: “dis”, which can be translated as “two”, and “lemma”, which is equivalent to “premise or theme”.
A dilemma, therefore, is an argument that is made up of two contrary and disjunctive propositions: by granting or denying either of these two propositions, what was wanted to be proved is demonstrated.
A dilemma is a problem with two possible solutions, which makes the person doubt the best decision.
The dilemma as entertainment
Within the realm of games, dilemmas are also set as entertainment. One of the best known is the so-called prisoner’s dilemma, created by Melvin Dresher and Merrill M. Flood in the 1950s.
With him, it is proposed that two prisoners of any prison will do before a proposal: collaborate to be able to minimize the problems they have in prison or betray each other so that one of them can at least achieve freedom.
A problem with more than one solution
In everyday language, the dilemma is understood as a problem that can be solved through two solutions but that neither of them is completely acceptable or, on the contrary, that both are equally acceptable. In other words, by choosing one of the options, the person is not completely satisfied.
What a dilemma does is put an individual in a situation of doubt, torn between two alternatives. The dilemma can be generated by various issues: professional, moral, etc. Often the person is torn between a “right” choice (what he thinks he should do) and a “feeling” choice (what he feels he wants to do).
A dilemma can cause concern or uncertainty.
Dilemmas in everyday life
The emergence of dilemmas in everyday life is very frequent. Suppose the editor of a newspaper is ordered by his boss to write a story in favor of a sponsor of the newspaper who is being investigated for corruption. The journalist, however, had access to evidence that proves the sponsor’s guilt.
The editor, therefore, faces a dilemma: obey his boss to keep his job, even lying to the readers; or write a note with the truth about the case, at the risk of losing your job.
A Michael Mann movie
Within the world of cinema there are various productions that are committed to making use of the word in question in their titles. Thus, for example, we find the feature film “El dilemma”, which was released in 1999 by director Michael Mann.
Al Pacino and Russell Crowe are the protagonists of this film that revolves around the figure of a scientist who has managed to discover what substance tobacco companies put in cigarettes to make them addictive. What he will do is make it public and that will be his professional final. However, a television producer will give him a chance on the small screen so that he can tell everything in detail.
The first step that we are going to take before knowing the meaning of the term ethical dilemma is to discover the etymological origin of the two words that give it shape:
-Dilemma comes from the Greek, exactly emanates from the name “dilemma”, which is formed from the sum of two different parts: the prefix “dis-“, which means “two”, and the noun “lemma”, which is synonymous of “themes”.
-Ethical also emanates from the Greek. Specifically, it is the result of the union of “ethos”, which means “custom”, and the suffix “-ikos”, which can be translated as “related to”.
A dilemma is a situation that forces a choice between two alternatives. The ethical, on the other hand, is that which conforms to moral norms: that is, which conforms to what is considered good, positive or acceptable.
An ethical dilemma poses a scenario where all alternatives carry a moral fault.
What is an ethical dilemma
An ethical dilemma, therefore, occurs when a person is forced to choose between alternatives that, in some way, may cause a moral fault.
In general, these types of dilemmas are linked to the acceptance, or not, of a questionable means from an ethical point of view with an altruistic or benevolent purpose.
It is common for an ethical dilemma to arise when an ethically reprehensible medium appears but allows a benevolent objective to be achieved.
Suppose a man cannot get a job and therefore has no money to buy food for his children. This person has been trying to get a job for months and asked many people for help, without getting an answer. In this context, one morning he observes that a neighbor drops money from his pocket without realizing it. Man is then presented with an ethical dilemma: Should you collect the money and return it to your neighbor, or should you take advantage of this carelessness to steal the bills and buy food for your children? The first option would be fair to the rightful owner of the money, but would keep their own children from eating. The second alternative, on the other hand, would allow him to feed his descendants even knowing that the money used belonged to another subject.
A priest, for his part, faces an ethical dilemma when, as part of the sacrament of confession, a faithful reveals to him that he has committed a crime. Catholic doctrine states that he should keep the secret but, on the other hand, the priest knows that, if he appears before Justice, he could help the guilty party receive the punishment he deserves and that the victim’s relatives obtain, through said sanction, a reparation.
Types of ethical dilemmas
In addition to everything indicated, we can establish that there are several types of ethical dilemmas, among which the following stand out:
– Real dilemma, which is called that because the situation or event around which it revolves is close, it is real, it is feasible that it could happen. Hence, it may carry some anguish.
– Hypothetical dilemma, which, unlike the previous one, is presented to one or more people about situations that are very likely to happen in real life.
– Closed dilemma, which is called that because the decision about an event has already been made. In this case, when the dilemma arises, it is for a person to give their opinion and assess the actions of the person who has had to adopt a position before him.
– Complete dilemma, which is the one that arises when the person is informed of all the consequences of each of the options that can be taken.
Knowing the etymological origin of the two words that give shape to the term moral dilemma is the first thing we are going to do:
-Dilemma, in the first place, is a word that derives from the Greek, exactly from “dilemma”, which is the result of the sum of two different parts: the prefix “dis-”, which means “two”, and the noun “lemma”. ”, which can be translated as “premise” or “theme”.
-Moral, secondly, comes from Latin. In his case, it comes from “moralis”.
A moral dilemma occurs when you must choose between options that are ethically questionable.
A dilemma is a situation that forces an individual to choose between two alternatives. Morality, on the other hand, is that which conforms or adjusts to what is considered positive or good, as opposed to what is reprehensible or bad.
What is a moral dilemma
The idea of moral dilemma, in this framework, appears when a person must choose between different possibilities that, in one way or another, can produce a reprehensible situation from the ethical point of view. Sometimes, the moral dilemma occurs when it is necessary to choose the lesser evil or when it is a question of a means that is punishable at an ethical level but that pursues an altruistic or kind objective.
Moral dilemmas are also known in colloquial language as ethical dilemmas. This is because ethics is the philosophical discipline that is responsible for systematizing the concepts of evil and good, rationally defining which actions are bad and which are good. Morality, on the other hand, is made up of those rules that govern the conduct of individuals in a specific community. Ethics, in short, concerns general principles, while morality is concentrated in a specific context, always in relation to good and evil.
Moral dilemmas often generate concern and uncertainty.
An example of a moral dilemma appears when, in a secondary school, a young man decides to set fire to a desk. The directors, upon noticing the situation, inform the students that, if the person responsible for the act does not appear, all the students will be punished. Thus, a moral dilemma arises among the friends of the guilty party, who know what happened: should they betray and betray their friend to prevent everyone from being punished, or should they privilege trust and friendship and allow a massive and unjust punishment?
Classification according to type
There are several types of moral dilemmas that exist. However, there are two that are especially significant: the solution dilemma and the analysis dilemma.
In the first one, what is done is to establish the problem that exists and for that it is exposed both this and the circumstances that exist around it without showing any kind of possible solution. From there, the person to whom it is proposed is the one who must decide what action must be carried out because he considers it to be the correct one.
In the analysis dilemma, on the other hand, what happens is that the protagonist of the situation or problem has already made his decision about it and that has led him to carry out a certain behavior. All this is what is proposed to another person who must make a value judgment on the position and action that he has carried out in order to solve the aforementioned problem.
List of Acronyms Related to Dilemma
|CASD||Casuistry and Social Dilemmas|
|FJD||Father Jack’s Dilemma|
|KMDD||Konstanzer Methode der Dilemmadiskussion|