Moral discussions

Moral discussions and ethical conundrums

Moral discussions and ethical conundrums are the main components of descriptive ethics. Maintaining accepted standards is referred to as ethics, whereas a dilemma is a situation in which a decision must be made between two equally undesirable choices. Being forced to choose between two morally conflicting options makes ethical choices difficult. Justice versus mercy and Individual versus Community are the two primary ethical conundrums in this group. Conversely, moral discourse refers to a discussion or writing that addresses the morality of human character. It evaluates the different processes taking place in sorting out values in a society by working out normative differences among themselves using significant logic and facts. Descriptive ethics follows the study of moral relativism regarding how people speak and write regarding terrorism (Gilinskiy, Gilly & Sergevnin, 2009). Therefore, it is central to the foundation of terrorism ethics.


Ethical Dilemmas

Individual versus community

In terrorism context, innocence is only defined by lack of involvement in the terrorism activities. However, individual and collective responsibility of the community arises. For instance, when terrorist are attacking, they may hold all citizens collectives responsible for injustices therefore killing without a bias. The terrorists have also been known to target certain prominent people or regions, even if they have no individual responsibility. Thus, a responsibility of one individual may lead to the terrorist attack for the entire population. This mainly occurs whereby leaders makes decisions on behalf of the people (Gilinskiy et al., 2009). In such, the community shares the responsibility through omission rather than participation. For example, if the United States decides to attack the ISIS, the decision is only made by a handful of top government and defence personnel. However, if the ISIS retaliates, it's the citizens who will be attacked despite having taken no responsibility.

Justice versus mercy

It is usually hard to evaluate or determine whether some cases of terrorism can be termed as a form of justice. It is also difficult determining in which circumstances such acts of terrorism would be considered moral. For instance, if a morally innocent individuals defend themselves from significant injustice through terrorist activities aimed to only those guilt of committing the injustice when all other non-violent protests have been exhausted, it is hard to categorize that as justice or injustice. However, in this research paper, the context of terrorism involves where terror groups attack targeted countries, which they consider their enemies. For instance, the United States has been attacked by the ISIS on many occasions as they consider them enemies of Muslim. However, there lacks justice in these acts of terrorism since innocent citizens ends up killed or wounded (Gilinskiy et al., 2009).

Moral Dialogues

Moral dialogues occurs when people embark on sorting values, which guide them in formulating social good. A key element of moral dialogue is the reflection of a basic principle towards what a participant does or says. It is based on the acknowledgement that conflicting parties belong to the same community (Etzioni, 1998). The moral dialogue literature explores how public policies are influenced by liberal thinking which argues how democratic people are obliged to proceed by discussing facts and exploring logical implications. Terrorism involves destroying property, killing people, instilling fear, torture among other acts considered immoral by most people. The basic values of terrorist and the rest of the world are different and incompatible. Terrorists aim to disrupt the economies and peace of their targeted countries, while citizens in those countries tire to build the economy and maintain peace (Gilinskiy et al., 2009). As a result, considering the facts of the previous acts of terror by the terrorists, and logical implications on the same, people regards terrorism values as immoral. As discussed in the previous research papers, terrorist acts lead to death of thousands of innocent souls. Such facts determine how the people formulate a community’s policies on what is the social good.


Analyze: Apply professional codes of ethics AND/OR ethical principles to develop your own assessment of these ethical concerns; Identify how conflicting value systems influence an assessment of this topic or generate ethical dilemmas for those who work with this issue.

Autonomy, nonmaleficence, beneficence and justice are the main ethical principles. Autonomy denotes that each person has the right to act freely, think freely and make own decisions, so long the acts or decisions do not negatively affect the lives of others. Nonmaleficence insinuates that people should interact in a way that does not harm others in the process. Therefore, people are obliged to avoid any activities which may lead to harming the other people. Beneficence denotes benefiting other people. The principle asserts that a person’s actions should uphold the well-being of others (Gilinskiy et al., 2009). The last principle is justice. Justice implies fairness when balancing the rights of two individuals. People are expected to treat others as they would like to be treated. In terrorism as discussed in this research paper, the acts involved do not uphold the said principles of ethics. For instance, when the terrorist kills innocent citizens, it implies that they have used their right to negatively affect others (broken nonmaleficence) and they did not benefit others or promote the well-being of other people (breaking beneficence).

ISIS and their Propaganda on how Ethical Concern relate to it

The ISIS utilize propaganda in many ways such as passing hatred, recruiting new members, instilling fear, inspiring their followers and encouraging its fighters. The ethical concerns discussed in this paper relates to the ISIS and their propaganda in many ways. For instance, ISIS is Islam based. According to the Muslims, dying in holy war leads to rewards when one ascends to heaven. This propaganda is used by the ISIS when inspiring their militants especially those involved in suicide bombings. The militia are made to believe that those who they attack are their enemies, such as the USA non-Muslim residents. Thus, the militants do not have any mercy when conducting the killings, as they feel that they are doing justice to their enemies who are destined to perish.

Another instance of how ethical concern relate to ISIS and their propaganda is through individual versus community ethical dilemma. The members of ISIS regard to themselves as a community who are supposed to help and protect each other. Similarly, they categorize other non-Muslims of their enemy countries as being their foes at large. Therefore, they do not consider individual enemies, but rather categorizes their enemies as a community. It is due to this reason that they do not target one individual during their murders, but rather hit places with dense populations such as bus stops.


Etzioni, A. (1998). Moral Dialogues: A Communitarian Core Element. Debating Democracy's Discontent, 183-192.

Etzioni, A. (2000). Moral Dialogues in Public Debates. The Public Perspective, 11(2), 27-30. Retrieved from

Gilinskiy, Y., Gilly, T., & Sergevnin, V. (2009). The Ethics of Terrorism: Innovative Approaches from an International Perspective. Springfield, Ill.: Charles C. Thomas.

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