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An ethical dilemma or ethical paradox is a decision-making problem between two possible moral imperatives, neither of which is unambiguously acceptable or preferable. The complexity arises out of the situational conflict in which obeying one would result in transgressing another. Sometimes called ethical paradoxes in moral philosophy, ethical dilemmas may be invoked to refute an ethical system or moral code, or to improve it so as to resolve the paradox. An ethical dilemma is a decision making problem between two possible moral imperatives, neither of which is unambiguously acceptable or preferable.
It is sometimes called ethical paradoxes in moral philosophy. A runaway trolley is heading down the tracks toward five workmen who will be killed if the trolley proceeds on its present course.
You are on a footbridge over the tracks that is in between the approaching trolley and the five workmen. Next to you on this footbridge is a stranger who happens to be very large. If you do nothing the trolley will proceed, causing the deaths of the five workmen.
The only way to save the lives of these workmen is to push this stranger off the bridge and onto the tracks below, where his large body will stop the trolley, causing his death. Should you push the stranger onto the tracks in order to save the five workmen?
There are scientific projects going on now that aim to create bots so small they can move through your blood or attach to your nerve endings. Either by electrical stimulation or a release of chemicals, these bots may regulate our bodies before we even know something is wrong. Would you invest in these small bots in order to live a possibly longer life? This section does not cite any sources.
Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. See also case-based reasoning on this process. An alternative to situational ethics is graded absolutism.