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The Ethical Dilemma and the Contribution of Kantianism and Utilitarianism Ethical Theories

Ethical Dilemma

Ethical/ moral dilemma refers to a severe condition often concerning an apparent mental conflict amid moral necessities in which to follow one would result in disobeying another. I am currently facing a friendship dilemma involving four parties: Jeremy, Anthony, Anthony’s wife, and me. I am employing the best way possible to solve it. Being faced with a friendship dilemma is an issue that causes a severe headache. Jeremy and Anthony are among my list of friends. Jeremy had met and started dating Monique, a beautiful French woman from Nice. According to Jeremy, his relationship with Monique is long-term. A few days ago I noted that Monique has been engaged to Anthony for three years and together they have a son who seems unknown to Jeremy. When I meet with Jeremy, I decide whether to tell Jeremy that Monique is married to Anthony. Anthony has doubted his wife Monique is having an affair and since we have been sharing many friends and contacts, he asked me if I have heard about the relationship.

The value at stake is that I do not know to whom I owe greater friendship. The present conflicting result my action can end up bringing is, no matter who I tell, the possibility is that might end up heart-breaking for the other partner or all of them will be heartbroken The truth about my assumption about keeping quiet and hoping that this knowledge will never be exposed is unknown. After resolving the issue, I aim for everybody to remain happy as before the issue unfolded. It is because I want my act to depend on facts about maximizing the involved parties’ well-being. Also, I must perform my best to bring maximum welfare, and well-being is assumed to be closely associated with happiness.

Utilitarian Theory

Utilitarianism ethical theory will be used to help me solve the dilemma. It is because the method is ethically associated with the rightness and wrongness of acts depending on the facts resulting from maximizing the well-being of the involved parties. The theory is greatly related to the maximum potential amount of well-being associated with happiness. The method is significantly defined by five characteristics: consequentialism, individualism, welfare, aggregation, and maximization. Also as a friend, I will be concerned with the consequences of the dilemma. Both good and bad will be present after solving the dilemma, in that Anthony might or might not lose Monique to Jeremy. Also maintaining personality, in this case, will be essential in coming up with a suitable solution that will be considered right to uphold healthy relationships among the welfare.

Contrasting views include ones on which the correctness or wrongness of acts depends, partially or wholly, on their conventionality to ethical instructions whose content is resolute by facts around things other than the consequences associated with the action.
The welfare view of goodness and the badness of penalties or conditions of affairs depends wholly on facts about well-being. It is occasionally characterized regarding contentment instead of welfare, and it is acceptable as long as happiness is understood broadly, along the lines of thriving in one’s life, purely not mental states. Divergent views are one in which the goodness and badness of the consequences vary partially or wholly on proofs about situations other than the state of welfare. Utilitarianism when dedicated to independence is discordant with contrasting views.

Aggregation is attributed to seeing that the worth of a state of affairs is resolute by summing the values related to personalities in that state of affairs. The opposing view comprises the ones whose value of welfare is determined by imposing some other mathematical function on values related to the associated entities in the welfare. The difference between contrasting affairs and aggregation makes them incompatible with utilitarianism.

Maximization refers to the view that it is considered necessary for the value of welfare to be as abundant as possible. It is considered the least controversial of the defining aspects of utilitarianism since there is usually thought to be nothing to be said for contrasting views, such as the value of the state of matters being potentially small or when viewed not a substance of ethical significance.
The Theory with the Best Solution

Between Kantianism and utilitarianism ethical theories, the Kantianism theory is relevant to help me solve the dilemma and resonates with me. Kant argues that morality is only imaginable in a society that possesses natural attributes of rationality and free will. My dilemma shows that I possess free will to express my dilemma to the involved people. Therefore, in this dilemma, no one can be responsible for actions lest that person understand right or wrong. It is evident that Jeremy does not know if his actions toward Monique are right or wrong only because he does not understand whether Monique is engaged to Anthony.

What I Will Do And The Reason For Choosing This Account

I am planning to solve my dilemma by using a Kantianism account. I want this account because it’s the most efficient and effective. By utilizing the theory of both Jeremy and Anthony regarding our friendship, I will utilize the universal principle that doing what Jeremy did was not a pleasurable moment but the right thing to do when he did not understand the consequences. Therefore, I will make both Jeremy and Anthony sit down, and we view all the implications resulting from the dilemma until Anthony retains his wife causing the least heartbreak to Jeremy because if Jeremy keeps Monique, Anthony’s son will suffer the most.

Advantages of Kantian Ethics

The morality in Kant’s is candid and is based on reasoning thus making it accessible to everyone. Also, duty is a measure of human understanding in Kant’s ethics. In this case, the molarity does not lie in intentions, consequences, or religious laws. It also outlines that molarity is attending to individuals’ duty and not just permitting feelings. It aims to treat everyone fairly and justly.
People are generally perceived to possess the same thoughts about morality, and most people identify the idea of duty which is what it means to be human. Kant views duty and inclination as different. Thus, ethical practice should be founded on reason and not independent emotion. Also, Kant also shows the distinction between preference and duty. The categorical imperative tells the right, and the wrong thus giving a clear sense of ethical guidelines. From intrinsic rightness comes the moral value of an action.

Critics Associated With Utilitarianism.

Utilitarianism makes it impossible for happiness and other things that cannot be measured. Therefore, measuring happiness is impossible, and a world like “happier” and “happiest” could possess no meaning. Also, it is characterized by impracticality which makes it difficult to apply. It is illustrated where we cannot calculate what is wrong and right as a result of the failure of the utility principle. It is also associated with distastefulness because it needs us to reason all kinds of thinking.

Cons, Flaws, and Negative Aspects of Utilitarianism

Adverse complications characterize utilitarianism. For instance, in my dilemma, Anthony is faced with a negative difficulty of what his wife is doing, and thus, Jeremy. The theory is also subjective as we cannot tell whether Monique is right or wrong about what she is doing. Also, it’s time-consuming and challenging since calculating the total utility for every action taken. It presents disputable situations where no one decides good or bad because no one recognizes who has the absolute right to say good or bad. Also, it promotes favoritism since it is hard for individuals to make practical decisions regarding loved ones.

Problems Associated With Kant’s Ethical Theory

All duties associated with Kant are faced with grave problems since all responsibilities are absolute, and thus, they can’t help solve conflicts of duty. Solving my friend’s dilemma by telling the truth would be difficult. Also, moral emotions are discounted, and lastly ignoring an action’s penalties, it is intentionally blind to act about an action that is not strict.

Negative aspects of making decisions and obeying only the categorical imperative.

Making decisions based on obeying only categorical imperative makes the decision to end on themselves while some terms are merely instrumental, thus they are treated as a thing with mere instrumental value. It leads to manipulation of decisions to make them easier and thus evades the truth.


In conclusion, an ethical dilemma is an issue that needs to be clearly understood to enable one to reach a viable solution. Though surrounded by many theories that assist a person, unknowingly, a person can have a hard time. Some are a time to consume, but they have advantages that greatly help reach a conclusion. The dynamic theories present to solve ethical dilemmas, though having the power of problem-solving, people might find them hard to understand and very contradicting which further poses a problem to the parties involved. It is nevertheless advisable to use ethical theories to solve ethical dilemmas.


Lee Bowie G. Twenty Questions “An Introduction to Philosophy.” 1988



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