Emma Samuel '22 majored in English and Philosophy and minored in Women's and Gender Studies and is a 2021-22 Hackworth Fellow at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics. Views are her own.
How to Navigate an Ethical Dilemma
To recognize when you're facing an ethical dilemma, consider if someone's well-being is at stake. If there's ever a situation where your actions could help or harm someone, or you're debating what you "should" do, that's
probably an ethical dilemma.
Learn about it
The next step is getting all of the facts! This will help you make the most informed decision you can. You should make sure that you know who is involved, what you can do in the situation, and what the potential outcomes might be. You can get these facts by doing your own research or by talking to people involved.
Ask yourself questions
Third, you should ask yourself questions to help figure out the best course of action. Some example questions you could ask are: How do I do the most good or least harm in this situation? Are my intentions good? Which action will help make me a better person? How do I best respect the rights ofeveryone involved in the situation? Which course will be the best for my community?
Phone a friend
The fourth step is, technically, optional. I think it's super helpful to talk through dilemmas with other people, and if you think that will help you. Definitely reach out to a friend to talk it through!
Now you can act! You've thought your decision through, and considered it from multiple perspectives, you can be confident that you're making the right choice. Nice job!
View Emma's project presentation
About Emma Samuel
"Emma B. Samuel '22 graduated with a major in English and Philosophy and a minor in Women's and Gender Studies. She came to Santa Clara not quite sure what she wanted to do, but she found a passion for philosophy during one of her core classes. Since then, it has been her goal to one day research and teach philosophy. She hopes to focus her research in the area of applied ethics, which is why the Hackworth Fellowship was so important to her. She was a part of the campus ethics team, and looked forward to working with other fellows on their projects."