Ethical Dilemmas And Decision-Making Process


One of the most consistent aspects of existence is the need to make decisions. This begins almost from birth. Decisions made are, at first simplistic in nature. They could be with regard to issues as simple as whether to call for ones’ parent; get a snack; or go to bed. Through the progression of life and its many cycles and experiences, those decisions become more difficult and complex. While the consideration that makes decisions at these points in life require a more critical cognitive approach, the foundation on which resolution is achieved is derived from the same foundation as was in youth. The foundation on which people make decisions is that of the concept that a person has of what is right and what is wrong. This is holistically known as an ethical foundation.

An ethical foundation or perception of ethics is commonly presented in correlation to the differentiation of good and evil. Good is presented as what is right and justice, while evil is what is wrong and is used to describe the most egregious of behaviors. As simplistic as this first appears, there is an area of decision making that is often overlooked in the setting of ethical decision-making groundwork. The area is referred to as “gray”. This area is far more ambiguous in that what is right and what is wrong is not as clearly evident as it is in other situations. It is within this area that perception of the circumstances of an issue and the choices that are available forces the decision to yield to a degree of subjectivity that erases clarity. This is the kind of situation that stands as the central ethical dilemmas faced in “Hard Measures, and “The Lucifer Effect”.

The“The Lucifer Effect” & “Hard Measures” are literary works that cover the concept of ethical dilemmas and ethical decision-making. Each tackles the subject of the “gray area” of right and wrong. This area is the one that most people struggle with when it comes to making a decision that is not overtly defined by conventional standards of ethics. They either side with the option that is most self-serving, or focus primarily on the ends justifying the means even if the means are not the most ethical in nature. The trouble in either approach is that they go against the presented belief in the ethical foundation that is held dear. This foundation is one of clearly defined roles, rights, wrongs, and processes that should be followed, all in the name of fairness, justice, and equality. It is all in the name of the greater good. When the facts of the situation are unclear, or the road to be taken to engage in the right behavior is a bit more ambiguous than normal, those standards of ethics change. They become far more subjective and far less defined. When there is lack of clarity, the very concept of ethical decision making is overrun by ethical dilemmas, and it is what becomes most convincing that prevails over what is right. This is a scary reality to face; however, it is one that has been made very clear in the works of “The Lucifer Effect” & “Hard Measures”. Taken from this is an entirely new perspective of ethics and an entirely new understanding of its true subjectivity.






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