Resolution of ethical conflicts

Ethics as an area of practical philosophy deals with the framework conditions of moral and responsible human action. Ethical dilemmas or conflicts are situations for which, at first glance, there seems to be no clear way out or clear solutions.

Equivalent values or legal interests often stand in opposition to each other, e.g. the right to medical care as opposed to the right to bodily integrity. There is broad agreement here on the recognition of four universally valid values which must be taken into account in such difficult decision-making processes. These are:

  1. justice
  2. autonomy/self-determination
  3. beneficence/doing good
  4. non-malificence/doing no harm.

(cf. Beauchamp & Childress, 2009, cited in Woellert, 2012).

For further reading: Katharina Woellert (2012). “Umgang mit Intergeschlechtlichkeit. Ethische Dilemmata und Methoden ethischer Reflexion” [Dealing with intersex: Ethical dilemmas and methods of ethical reflection]. In K. Schweizer & H. Richter-Appelt (eds). Intersexualität kontrovers. Grundlagen, Positionen und Erfahrungen. Gießen: Psychosozial-Verlag.