What Is a Moral Conflict Definition

The second problem with this simple solution is deeper. Even if it were plausible to order moral commandments hierarchically, situations may arise in which the same command leads to conflicting obligations. Perhaps the most discussed case of this kind comes from William Styron`s Sophie`s Choice (1980; see Greenspan 1983 and Tessman 2015, 160-163). Sophie and her two children are in a Nazi concentration camp. A guard confronts Sophie and tells her that one of her children is allowed to live and another is killed. But it is Sophie who must decide which child will be killed. Sophie can prevent the death of one of her children, but only by condemning the other to kill. The guard makes the situation even more distressing by informing Sophie that if she chooses neither, both will be killed. With this added factor, Sophie has a morally compelling reason to choose one of her children. But for every child, Sophie has a seemingly equally strong reason to save them. Thus, the same moral imperative leads to contradictory obligations.

Some have described these cases as symmetrical (Sinnott-Armstrong 1988, Chapter 2). Examples of ethical dilemmas are quite common: in everyday life, in stories or thought experiments. [9] On closer inspection, it may become clear in some of these examples that our initial intuitions misled us and that the case in question is not a real dilemma after all. For example, it may turn out that the proposed situation is impossible, that one choice is objectively better than the other, or that there is an additional choice that was not mentioned in the description of the example. But for the defense lawyers` reasoning to succeed, it is enough to have at least one real case. [4] This poses a significant difficulty for opponents, as they should show that our intuition is wrong not only in some of these cases, but in all cases. One way to argue in favor of this claim is to categorize it as epistemic ethical dilemmas, that is, the conflict seems insoluble only due to the agent`s lack of knowledge. [10] [9] This position can be made somewhat plausible because the consequences of actions, even simple ones, are often too great for us to anticipate them properly. According to this interpretation, we confuse our uncertainty about which approach prevails over the other with the idea that this conflict cannot be resolved at the ontological level. [4] Debates about moral dilemmas have been extensive over the past six decades. These debates go to the heart of moral theory.

Proponents and opponents of moral dilemmas have great burdens to carry. Opponents of dilemmas must show why appearances are deceiving. Why are examples of apparent dilemmas misleading? Why are certain moral emotions appropriate if the agent has done nothing wrong? Proponents need to show why some of the many seemingly plausible principles should be abandoned – principles such as PC,, OP, D, „should” implies „may” and the agglomeration principle. And each party must provide a general account of the commitments and explain whether none, some or all may be cancelled in certain circumstances. Much progress has been made, but the debate should continue. Because of their deep roots, moral conflicts tend to be persistent and long-lasting. [31] Parties to the conflict often find it very difficult to describe substantive issues in common terms. Because they argue from different moral positions, they disagree on the meaning and significance of important issues. [32] This in itself makes negotiations or compromises extremely difficult.

Ethical dilemmas are sometimes defined not in the form of contradictory commitments, but by not having the right course of action, that all alternatives are bad. [1] The two definitions are equivalent for many, but not all, purposes. For example, it is possible to claim that in case of ethical dilemmas, the agent is free to choose one of two approaches that any alternative is correct. Such a situation always poses an ethical dilemma according to the first definition, since contradictory requirements are not resolved, but not according to the second definition, since there is a correct course of action. [1] Some suggest that in such cases, parties should strive to develop space for citizens` public discourse. [43] Even if the parties have radically different worldviews and disagree on the relevant issues, they can still reach agreement on how to deal constructively with moral and political differences. In other words, they can agree on how to disagree. This allows them to find a way to manage their conflict in a way that minimizes costs for both parties. Not surprisingly, moral conflicts often have harmful effects.

Participants in moral conflicts often behave immorally, even according to their own standards of behavior, because they believe that the actions of their enemies compel them to do so. [29] When a group is considered morally depraved, its members may be considered less humane and not deserve humane treatment. The demonization or dehumanization of the adversary, which often occurs in moral conflicts, paves the way for hateful action and violence. This often leads to human rights violations or even attempts at genocide, as the parties come to believe that capitulation or elimination of the other group is the only way to resolve the conflict. [30] Line (10) is in direct conflict with PC. And from PC and (1) we can conclude: Thus, proponents and opponents of moral dilemmas can explain why agents facing moral conflict appropriately experience negative moral emotions. But there is a complex set of questions regarding the relationship between ethical conflicts and moral emotions, and only discussions the length of a book can do them justice. (See Greenspan 1995 and Tessman 2015.) The 2016 U.S. presidential election was a „wake-up call” for many people. Many of us were unaware of the depth of the distributive and moral division in this country. More. But not being action-oriented is not the only reason why the existence of moral dilemmas is considered problematic.

Equally important, the existence of dilemmas leads to inconsistencies when some other widely held theses are true. Here, we will examine two different arguments, each of which shows that one cannot systematically recognize the reality of moral dilemmas while maintaining selected (and apparently plausible) principles. There can only be real moral dilemmas if none of the contradictory demands are overridden. Ross (1930, chapter 2) was of the view that all moral commandments can be overridden in certain circumstances. This provides an inviting framework for opponents of dilemmas. But if certain moral demands cannot be overridden – if they are absolute – then it will be easier for the proponents of dilemmas to defend their cause. Lisa Tessman distinguished between negotiable and non-negotiable moral requirements (Tessman 2015, especially Chapters 1 and 3). The first, if not satisfied, can be adequately compensated or compensated by another good. However, non-negotiable moral requirements entail costs in the event of a breach that no one should bear; Such a breach cannot be offset by any benefit. If non-negotiable moral demands can conflict – and Tessman argues that this is possible – then these situations will be real dilemmas and the agents they face will inevitably fail morally.