Ethical Dilemma

                Description for Ethics Paper Number Three

             In class we will be working with a pattern of reasoning called dilemma.  The symbolic standard form for the dilemma is illustrated below.  Sophie's choice and other illustrations will be discussed in class and we will be working with dilemmas in class for you to gain a familiarity with them along with some of the terminology associated with dilemmas and concepts needed to complete the paper.

 The Standard Symbolic Form for a dilemma is:

    Premise 1:  Either P or Q

    Premise 2:  If P, then R

    Premise 3: If Q, then S

    Conclusion:  Either R or S

 One group of dilemmas that we will focus on is what is called a "Moral Dilemma."  A moral dilemma is one where one is left with two lousy outcomes.  As they say you are dammed if you do and dammed if you don't.

Your moral dilemma paper will involve three separate parts.

Part One

         The first part of your paper introduces the moral dilemma.  In life one is often presented with difficult choices.  Setting up a moral dilemma in standard form captures these difficulties.  So, typically one is forced to make a difficult choice between  two moral principles one holds that conflict with each other.  For example, suppose you make a promise to someone to keep a secret but by keeping the secret you would be endangering someone's life.  So, in the introduction you need to explain the two principles that you believe in that come into conflict in the situation that you describe in the introduction.  See the sample papers for specific illustrations.

Part Two

         The second part is where you put your dilemma into standard form.  The standard form includes an either or statement as your first premise. Premises two and three are conditional statements.  The conclusion of your dilemma is an either or statement.  In this part be sure to have the dilemma in proper form because if it is not in proper form you will be unable to discuss part three.


Part Three


        The third part of the paper is where you get a chance to resolve the dilemma if possible by refuting it.  In class we will discuss methods for refuting a dilemma which include Grasping a dilemma by the horns or Escaping between the horns of a dilemma.  These are terms you will need to understand and apply properly to your dilemma.  So, part three involves discussing  whether or not your dilemma can be refuted.


The minimum length of the dilemma paper is 500 words or two type written pages double spaced.