An ethical dilemma arises in the situation where the ethical constructions of justifying an action as either are ethical or unethical conflicts depending on their varied constructional orientation. That is, there occurs a conflict between different moral imperatives. There are some of ethical theories that can be used on providing solution to a dilemma; however there is a possibility of the solution provided by one ethical theory to conflict with the likely solution that can be provided by the other ethical theories. This situation arises following there varied orientations on explaining morality. Some of these ethical theories include; utilitarianism, deontology, divine command theory, ethical revitalism, and virtue ethics.
The use of Marijuana and the act of abortion poses ethical dilemmas. The ethical dilemmas arise following the intention undertaking abortion and also the using of marijuana. For instant, the using of marijuana by an individual is an individual choice, meaning that, it is an action that is chosen by an individual on satisfying his or her interests. On the other side, the use of marijuana among persons becomes a social concern following the effects of marijuana on the user, which makes the person a social misfit and a danger to the society, thus branding the using of marijuana unethical. This implies a dilemma as a result of conflicting interests. Abortion also on the other hand is beneficial to an individual because one undertakes it with a purpose, which is meeting self interest. This can be perceived to be conflicting with the right to life for an infant as provided in society, hence portraying abortion as an ethical dilemma. This following the conflicting interests between the society and an individual (Limentani, 1999).
Following the above dilemmas, different ethical theories are likely to provide varied solutions to the dilemmas. For instant, utilitarianism that advocated for promoting the general well being for the majority by first considering the majority interests is likely to brand both the use of marijuana and the undertaking of abortion as being unethical. These actions do not promote the general good of the majority, otherwise they are selfish actions. Persons using marijuana are dangerous in society, which undermines the general happiness of the society. Utilitarianism advocates for the principle of doing your neighbor what you expects him or her to do for you. On the assumption that the fetus is also a viable human being, the person who is undertaking abortion is limiting the happiness of the fetus, thus making abortion perceived as being unethical by the utilitarian school of thought.
From the perspective of deontology, they examine the morality of the action by considering the action itself. They are not interested with the consequences of an action, but on the conformity of the action with the moral law. For an action to be regarded as being right, it must be consistent and universally acceptable as right. According to the deontologists, one is supposed to undertake an action willfully, and other persons’ decisions should be respected as a principle. Therefore, from the deontologists’ perspective, the actions of using marijuana and undertaking abortion are ethical because they are personal choices, where personal choices should be respected as a principle. This is based on the assumption that person’s normally make choices rationally with an attempt of meeting their interests (Kellog 2003).
In conclusion, various ethical theories provide varied solutions to ethical dilemmas, meaning that ethical justifications over actions are likely to vary from one society to the other depending on their respective social constructs.
Limentani, A. E. (1999). Bioethics – Introduction and Definition. Retrieved May 26, 2008 from http //www.ascensionhealth.org/ethics/public/key_principles/main.asp.
Kellog Library (2003). The role of moral values in health care and the allegation for ethical codes. Journal of Medical Ethics 25 (5), 394-399. Retrieved May 26, 2008 from http //www library.dal.ca/kellogg/Bioethics/definition.htm.