Allowing ten plant to continue Walt changes In procedure wanly reduce ten rills out do not eliminate it entirely. We are asked to determine the value of eliminating a small but significant risk of injury or death versus the value of continuing to provide employment. A dogmatic response would be to say that no value, however great, can be put on a man’s life. However, if that principle were to be put literally into practice, daily life would grind too halt. Even if only one person a year died in a car accident, all private transport old be banned.
So, while we pay lip service to the belief that a human life is beyond measure, in practice decisions are made which are inconsistent with that belief. A genuinely difficult ethical decision, on the other hand, is one where with the best will in the world you do not know what you should do. The problem here is not with the will but with ethical knowledge. The wise decision maker has the ethical knowledge that the unwise or inexperienced decision maker lacks.
Lack of ability in ethical decision making can be remedied by appropriate training. As we shall now see, however, competence in making ethical decisions is still not enough. Sometimes we face ethical decisions which are difficult, not because of something we lack the required knowledge or expertise but rather because the nature of the situation which we are dealing with is such that no amount of expertise would be sufficient to determine the one and only ‘correct’ answer. This is the characteristic feature of a true ethical dilemma.