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 IAmAnAtheist » Are There Unsolvable Moral Dilemmas?

Are There Unsolvable Moral Dilemmas?


In any situation, there is a right thing and a wrong thing to do.

Q1 Analysis

This is not a Q1 violation so long as either you have a consistent method for resolving moral dilemmas or your beliefs never come into conflict.

Q2 Analysis

Although you might disagree with someone else about what the right thing and the wrong thing are, this statement is not, in itself, a Q2 violation.


As we’ve gone through these practical applications of 2Q, we’ve had to examine many situations in which two or more moral principles were brought into conflict. Were you able to find a solution that you felt comfortable with in all of these cases? Or were there some situations where you felt that no matter what decision was made it would be the wrong one?

For some people, certain moral rules — such as the prohibition against murder — are so strong that they override all other concerns. The more of these strong rules you have, the easier it is to judge right and wrong within your system (so long as those rules never come into conflict), and the more likely it is that in some situations what you judge to be the right thing to do won’t feel right.

For purposes of examining your own beliefs, consider the following situations. Which of them have clear moral solutions that you would feel comfortable following, and which (if any) are true dilemmas or only have unacceptable solutions?

You are encouraged to leave your answers to the questions posed in this post in the comments section. This post is based on an excerpt from Ask Yourself to be Moral, by D. Cancilla, available at LuLu.com and Amazon.com. See the 2Q system page for details of the philosophical system mentioned in this post.

Posted on February 15, 2011 at 9:59 pm by ideclare · Permalink
In: 2Q

3 Responses

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  1. Written by Clytia
    on February 15, 2011 at 11:56 pm
    Reply · Permalink

    I think there are unsolvable moral dilemmas. I think in some cases there is no right answer, just some answers that are less wrong than others, though that’s not always easy (or even possible) to be sure about.

  2. Written by Victor
    on February 16, 2011 at 1:40 am
    Reply · Permalink

    Every problem has a solution, but what would be the best solution?

    Sometimes we need to look at tings from a wider perspective before we can make a choice, somethimes there is a third choice that we can take.

    This is the way I would do it considering the entire choice depended on myself:

    – I would go to neither one of my parents, if they divorced it was probably both their fault, and if I can make a choice to spend christmas with doesnt that mean I could spend christmas with friends or girlfriend?

    – We dont really know the scenario here: is there nowhere to hang from? Is there a way to safely drop the woman so that you can both survive? I would try to hold on and try to lift her, considering I find the strenght to do so, but at least I wont die without trying.

    – This seems to deal with themes of abortion, and here I stopped and had to think for a moment… The most morally correct course of action I can think off would be to have the maximun number of babys that you could survive giving birth to, and then give those that you cant keep to adoption. There could be a better answer but thats what I can think of.

    – Considering this was my decision I would save as many as possible, again won’t die without trying.

    – Give it the injection, there is no need to torture him. Or actually have those who care for the baby make the choice, again, dont give up without trying.

    – How about you help both women with something else than money? Like food or some clothes, or split the dollar and buy something to share with them, shurely it could not be that hard? This one is easy.

    – Refuse to kill the woman and refuse to allow her to be tortured. Why would you be working for such cruel army anyway? Rambo time.

    – Dont use the weapon. Try to negotiate peace to the other side, if it does not work threaten them with the weapon, use outsider support, if all else fails tell your scientists to develop a more presice weapon so you only have to kill the leader of the opposition.

    The moral of the story: Never give up before trying.

  3. Written by ff42
    on February 17, 2011 at 11:05 pm
    Reply · Permalink

    I have heard these described as ‘life boat’ scenarios and while great to think about (I’m always doing ‘what-ifs’) just never really occur in real life.

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