According to the University of Southern California Levan Institute, ethical dilemmas are situations that challenge one's ability to choose the most ethical course of action. They arise when there is difficulty in carrying out effective ethical action or when difficulties arise in finding strategies that effectively avoid future ethical obstacles.
Ethical conflicts and dilemmas can occur in most fields. Issues in bioethics and medicine have attracted much attention. Ethical dilemmas in these fields have resulted from human stem cell research, for example, as an Iowa State University webpage points out. However, the USC webpage states that ethical dilemmas also exist in fields without obvious ethical implications, such as art and physics.