Conversation Questions about Ethics

Ethics is a branch of philosophy that deals with questions of morality and how individuals ought to behave in society.

In this post, we will explore a variety of ethical topics and provide conversation questions to spark thoughtful discussions among friends, family, or in a classroom setting.

Whether you’re a student, a teacher, or simply someone interested in exploring these issues further, we hope these questions will inspire interesting conversations.

Questions about Ethics

These are some questions about ethics and morals.

  • How do you define ethics?
  • How do you define morals?
  • How do we determine what is ethical?
  • What is the difference between ethics and morality?
  • What is the difference between moral relativism and moral absolutism?
  • Is it ever morally acceptable to tell a lie?
  • Is it ever justifiable to break the law?
  • Should organ donation be mandatory?
  • Should there be limits on free speech?
  • Is it morally acceptable to use animals for scientific research?
  • Should there be a limit on the amount of money a person can make?
  • Is it ethical to clone animals or humans?
  • Is it morally acceptable for a government to use surveillance on its citizens?
  • Should we have a right to privacy?
  • How do one’s personal beliefs affect their understanding of ethics?
  • Is it ethical to use genetic engineering to enhance human abilities?
  • Is it ethical to use artificial intelligence in warfare?
  • How do cultural and societal norms affect our understanding of ethics?
  • Is it morally acceptable to use performance-enhancing drugs in sports?
  • Should we prioritize the needs of the many over the needs of the few?
  • How can we apply ethical principles in our daily lives?
  • What is the relationship between ethics and law?
  • What is the role of culture and religion in ethics?

Ethical Dilemmas

These are some short ethical dilemmas for students to think about.

  • The Lifeboat Dilemma: Imagine you are on a lifeboat with several other people, and there is only enough food and water for half the people to survive until rescue arrives. Do you choose to sacrifice some people to save the rest, or do you share the supplies evenly and risk everyone dying?
  • The Trolley Problem: Imagine you are standing near a train track when you see a trolley heading toward five people who are tied to the track. You notice a lever that would divert the trolley onto another track where there is only one person tied up. Do you pull the lever to save the five people but sacrifice one person, or do you do nothing and let the trolley kill the five people?
  • The Self-Driving Car Dilemma: Imagine you are the owner of a self-driving car that is about to hit a pedestrian who has stepped onto the road. The car has two options: it can either swerve and hit a wall, killing you, the passenger, or it can continue on and hit the pedestrian, killing him or her. What decision should the car’s programming make?
  • The Time Travel Dilemma: Imagine you have a time machine and you can travel back in time to prevent a tragedy from happening. However, by doing so, you would alter the course of history and potentially create unintended consequences. Do you go back in time and try to prevent the tragedy, or do you accept that it happened and avoid potentially making things worse?
  • The Animal Testing Dilemma: Imagine you are a scientist who is developing a new drug that could cure a deadly disease. The drug has only been tested on animals, and it is unclear whether it will be safe and effective for humans. Do you continue to test the drug on animals in the hope of saving human lives, or do you reject animal testing on ethical grounds and potentially delay the development of a life-saving drug?

More Conversation Questions

These are other ESL conversation questions you might want to check

Manuel Campos, English Professor

Manuel Campos

I am Jose Manuel, English professor and creator of, a blog whose mission is to share lessons for those who want to learn and improve their English