www.ethanwiner.com - since 1997

Ethical Dilemmas


I saw an episode of the TV show Boston Legal where a prison guard was put on trial for murdering an inmate while he was being executed by lethal injection. The injection wasn't administered properly, and the prisoner had been suffering for 20 minutes, gasping for breath. So the guard took out his gun and shot him. I know it's only TV, but I was pleased that the jury found him not guilty because he only hastened what the government was already doing.

I've always been interested in ethical dilemmas, because they force you to consider more than simple black and white issues. Below are a few I've thought of, and I welcome other interesting and original suggestions for this page.

Assuming you don't live right on a busy highway or in an inner city, is it kinder to let your cat go outdoors and have a fulfilling life, or imprison him indoors where he'll live longer and never be eaten by another animal or run over by a car?

In the abortion debate, whose rights are more important - the mother or the unborn fetus?

If someone opposes abortion because it's murder, can they still support the death penalty?

Is there any valid reason to not be an organ donor?

You see a newspaper ad for a car dealer giving away a valuable gift, such as a free Kindle or $50 coupon for a restaurant you like, if you agree to take a test drive. You really want the free gift, but you have no intention to buy the car. Do you take the test drive anyway?

While driving, a dog runs out in the road and you hit him. He's hurt but not dead, and this wasn't your fault. Do you continue driving, or stop and try to find the owner? And if you can't find the owner, do you take him to a vet yourself, even if it means you may have to pay the bill?

It seems logical to me that if you die peacefully in your sleep, the only people harmed are those who know you and will miss you. So if a homeless man who has no friends or family is murdered painlessly while he sleeps, was anyone really harmed? Would you mind if someone killed you painlessly in your sleep?


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