Differences between Dilemma and Ethical Dilemma

Dilemma is a situation where an actor has to choose between two unfavourable/undesirable options. On the other hand, Ethical dilemma is a situation where a moral actor has to choose between two moral principles and the choice of one invariably comes at the cost of another moral principle. While Dilemma is a matter of confusion, Ethical dilemma is a matter of morality and one’s value system.

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A dilemma may occur because of decision fatigue. An ethical dilemma requires critical thinking, reflection and application of moral principles. It is caused by a strong value system.

Example of Ethical Dilemma in Indian Context

In the Indian context, an ethical dilemma is an even bigger challenge, because we value our personal loyalties and kinship as strongly as values of truth and honesty. Secondly, in our folk lores, history has not been kind to men who have compromised personal moral values over wider ethical principles. When confronted with a choice, Vibheeshan, the brother of Ravana chose supporting affair cause over loyalty with his own brother. Such tales from celebrated works like Ramayan have ensured that no households would name their children after Vibheeshan.

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