Difference Between Ethical and Unethical

Ethical vs Unethical

The difference between ethical and unethical is not hard to understand as the two words, ethical and unethical, are antonyms. For this reason, once you understand the meaning of one word you know that the opposite meaning belongs to the other word. Both the terms ethical and unethical function as adjectives in English language. Ethics is moral principles that govern peoples’ behavior and life conduct. Ethics differentiates between good and bad conduct. Since ethical and unethical are adjectives, they can be used in front of words like issues, behavior, conduct, practices, etc. All these are related to the behavior or the conduct of personal lives of people. Unethical is the immoral principles of people. Those who are unethical are considered to be morally disobedient and they follow unaccepted behavioral patterns. First let us look at each term in detail and then let us go to see the differences between ethical and unethical.

What does Ethical mean?

Ethical can be defined as being morally correct or principled. Individuals differentiate between good and bad through ethical principles. Ethics is a universal phenomenon. Each society has its own ethical conduct that requires the members of the particular society to behave in a certain way. Some ethics can be seen in almost all the societies. For example, it is considered to be ethical for doctors to take care of any patient, regardless of gender, race or nationality. In addition, ethical conduct helps the smooth functioning of the society and also it keeps the harmony and peace among the members of the society. Being ethical helps an individual to have a well standard life and h/she may be revered in the society as well.

Difference Between Ethical and Unethical

It is ethical for doctors to take care of any patient, regardless of gender, race or nationality

What does Unethical mean?

Unethical is the opposite of being ethical. A person who lacks moral principles can be defined as an unethical person. In an unethical situation, individuals refuse to adhere to the proper conduct or the accepted behavioral pattern of the society. Unethical behaviors may lead the society to anarchic situations as well. As in ethics, there are some universally shared unethical practices as well. When it comes to certain professions, there are well-defined ethical and unethical behaviors. For example, it is considered unethical for physicians to advertise for themselves. Also, it is considered unethical for rich to exploit the poor for their advantage. In business field, it is considered unethical to use brand names, other than one’s own brand name illegally for his/her own benefit. Likewise, there are morally unaccepted behaviors in almost all the societies. The special thing with regard to unethical behavior is that the particular person who engages in an unethical action may be aware of his/her misconduct and might feel guilty as well. Thus, ethical and unethical issues have a connection with one’s moral conduct.

Ethical vs Unethical

Rich exploiting poor is unethical

What is the difference between Ethical and Unethical?

When we look at both terms, we see that they are related to the moral conduct of individuals. Both these terms define the moral and immoral principles of a society and they help in differentiating good deeds from the bad. Further, they function as adjectives in the language.

• When we look at the differences in the two terms, the main difference is that ethical is being morally principled and has a good conduct whereas unethical is the total opposite of it.

• An ethical principle in one society may be unethical in another society and these differ from one society to another.

• However, there are some universally accepted ethical behaviors as well.

• Almost all the societies promote ethical conducts and demote the unethical behaviors.


Images Courtesy:

  1. Doctor via Wikicommons (Public Domain)
  2. Rich and poor via Why are things as they are