Essay Writing

How to Write an Ethical Dilemma Essay

Ethics can be described as moral principles that every single individual has. These ethics are part and parcel of who you are. For example; some people support abortion (pro-abortion) while others don’t (anti-abortion), some people support the death penalty while others are against it.

These decisions put our moral principles to the test and this is what is called an ethical dilemma. 

Therefore, an ethical dilemma can be described as a situation where our moral principles are put to test such that we have to violate one moral principle to choose the other. 

In this post we will be covering the following agenda about ethical dilemma essays:

  • What do ethical dilemma essay questions look like?
  • Must know about ethical dilemma essays.
  • An effective structure on how to write ethical essays.
  • Broad tips about ethical dilemma essays.

What the question generally look like:

  1. Describe an ethical dilemma you faced in your life. How did you resolve it
  2. Describe a situation where your ethics were challenged. What did you do?

Therefore, it is very important to understand that an ethical dilemma is not a choice between what’s technically or legally right or wrong. It’s very easy to deviate from the ethical dilemma and rant about what is right or wrong.

An ethical dilemma essay is a discussion about morals, that gray area about what is right or wrong. It is about what is morally correct. 

When writing an ethical dilemma essay, a dilemma is a MUST. Don’t just explain the situation, explain the dilemma. Ensure that you provide takeaways for the reader because the essay is not so much about the situation it’s about you and your moral standpoint.

Examples of Moral dilemma.

You are in a sinking ship and it is crucial for you and 10 others to get into a lifeboat in order to survive. Unfortunately, the lifeboat can only withstand the capacity of only 10 people and if one more person boards, it sinks. Remember, the total number of people that need to be rescued is 11 including yourself. Your highest moral principle is to preserve life at all costs. How do you decide who gets rescued and who gets left out? If you let everyone board the lifeboat, it will sink. Any decision you make will compromise your moral principle of preserving life at all costs. 

You are the spouse of a woman who has gone to labor. The delivery process has complications and the doctor has asked you to make a crucial decision to choose the life of your wife or your unborn child. How do you make the decision on who lives and who dies taking into consideration your moral code of sanctity of life?

You are an animal life activist and you believe that all life is sacred. There is a possible life changing research being conducted by biologists that could save the lives of many people but the subjects used in this research are animals. Keep in mind that animals will suffer, even die in the process. Can you reconcile your advocacy of animal rights to the greater good of saving human life?

How to Write an Ethical Dilemma Essay.

Your essay may follow the standard essay format structure – introduction, body and conclusion. 

Though optional, it is very important to start your essay by describing what ethics mean to you and why they are important. After the opening, start by describing the dilemma itself and providing a detailed background of the situation. 

In your introduction, consider including a thesis statement based upon your discussion points and what you’re trying to prove to your audience, and your takeaway points.

The body paragraphs will follow the introduction beginning with well-formed topic sentences and detailed information to support them.

After you’ve given a detailed and clear description of the situation, explain how you were involved in the entire situation. 

Now that you’ve clearly defined your ethics and the dilemma, it’s time to get deeper into the situation and explain all the dynamics of the dilemma. 

Tip: Make sure you clearly explain what choices you had and the repercussions of how each choice you’d make.

At this point, the nature of the dilemma is clearly defined so we can get to the heart of the essay. You must explain how you solved the dilemma and what resulted from your choice of solutions. 

In order for the committee to understand the rationale in which you used to make your decisions, you must give an in-depth description of how you came to your decision. Expound on your entire thought process. 

In conclusion, provide a powerful ending by describing what you learnt from the dilemma situation. You might want to restate your thesis statement here and of course encourage readers dealing with moral dilemmas. 

Tip: You shouldn’t suggest that you may have made the wrong choice. If you must do so, clearly indicate that in a similar situation, you’d act differently. 

Ethical Dilemma Essay Structure Recap.

Let us recap on the ethical dilemma essay structure specifically focusing on how much you need to pay attention to each segment. 

  • The opening on the meaning of ethics (optional) – 15%
  • Situation/dilemma background – 10%
  • Involvement – 10%
  • Explain the dilemma – 20%
  • Explain available choices and potential consequences of each choice; explain your course of action and what you overcame. – 35%
  • Provide an end, explain what you learnt and provide advice/encouragement to people facing moral dilemmas. – 10%

Apart from the specific guidelines outlined above for writing ethical dilemma essays, follow these broader tips to make your essay more compelling.

 First, do not use any plagiarized material or old essay templates. If you need professional writer’s advice or help, order a custom essay here. One of our professional writers will write a plagiarism free ethical dilemma essay for you.

Remember, there’s no clear cut way of writing a professional essay and every person’s writing style is unique in a good way, especially when writing ethical dilemma essays. It is useful to take into consideration the opinions of others but don’t get too carried away.

Use language or tone that is natural to you. 

When writing an ethical dilemma essay, you must make sure to maintain a positive tone throughout the essay and finish off with proper takeaways to encourage readers facing moral dilemmas. 

Examples of Ethical Dilemma Essays.

  1. Online media use and privacy.
  2. Does driving an electric car indicate responsible citizenship?
  3. Is voting an ethical or legal duty?
  4. Abortion is an intervention against teen pregnancy.
  5. Pros and cons of capital punishment.
  6. Is human cloning ethical?
  7. Plastic surgery and the pursuit of beauty.
  8. The pros and cons of taking Vitamin supplements.
  9. Deodorants and cleansers as potential causes of breast cancer.
  10. The ethics and legality of child abortion.

The Five Steps Process For Resolving an Ethical Dilemma.

As explained earlier in this post, an ethical dilemma is a complex situation that requires mental and moral disagreements in which when solved one has to compromise one for the other. 

Pollack described the following 5 steps of rational reasoning when dealing with an ethical dilemma:

1.Determine the facts.

In order to solve the ethical dilemma essay, you will require a clash of principles and thoughts. The requirement of crucial decisions puts you in a very tight spot. Therefore, there’s a need to gather all the information available about the ethical dilemma in order to make a decision. 

2. Identify the relevant values and concepts.

To initiate the decision making process, it is important to gather the values and ideas of the conflicting parties. This helps to thoroughly consider the relevant values and concepts of both parties.

3. Identify the exact dilemmas (according to you) of the parties involved.

In this section, the main purpose is to recognize that in most cases people’s moral and ethical dilemmas are caused and/or influenced by other people. For example, when a police officer is faced by a moral dilemma of a fellow officer’s victim/suspect shooting is as a result of that fellow officer actually doing the shooting.

4. Decide and state the moral and ethical issue at hand.

This is not an option of the situation but rather an behavioral choice. For example, the ethical and moral dilemma of whether abortion is right differs from the ethical and moral dilemma of whether someone should abort a child when she gets pregnant. Although these are different issues, these both situations affect each other.

5. Resolve the moral or ethical dilemma.

This is the last step that you need to complete after using the steps above to analyze the situation.

You can use the following eight ethical systems by Pollack to aid your resolution.

Pollack’s Eight Ethical Systems to Solve Moral and Ethical Dilemma.

1.The Ethics of Virtue.

This approach emphasizes on the use of individual character and personality traits as the primary element in thinking when deciphering a moral or ethical dilemma rather than the rules and consequences.

2.Natural Law.

This involves what is right or wrong and good or bad based on natural human laws. Morality defines human laws under the ethical system.

3. Religion.

Although people have different opinions on what religion is, it is usually used as a common basis in the moral system. Most principles of religion are based on revelation rather than logic.

4. Ethical Formalism.

This moral system depicts that it is required behavior to perform your duty, however, good is intrinsically good.

5. Utilitarianism.

Under this moral system, your morality score depends on how your actions bring good to the society.

6. Ethics of care.

This system depicts that people develop moral virtues through practice. You become morally upright based on how you practise moral virtues.

7. Egoism.

This concept states that what benefits an individual is right regardless of its effect on other people.

8. Relativism.

A certain particular situation could be good or bad. Hence, a group or individual specifically influences a moral system.