What is the definition of "moral dilemma"?


A moral dilemma occurs when a person must decide between two conflicting actions. A person must have good moral reasoning to perform each action, but the actions cannot both be performed, according to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

A person with a moral dilemma can never do the right thing because each action has a moral basis. In order to solve a moral dilemma, the person must choose the action that does the most good – or avoid the most harm.

Socrates used the example of returning a weapon to a friend. It is morally correct to return a borrowed weapon. However, if the friend plans to use the weapon to harm others, then the least amount of harm is done by keeping the weapon. Although returning the weapon is the moral course of action, protecting others has a higher priority.

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