Difference Between Ethics and Morality

Ethics vs Morality


Morality and ethics are two closely interrelated words, but they are not the same; there is some difference between them. But, as they are closely interrelated, it is common for people to make incorrect usage of the two terms. Hence, it is better to understand the meanings of two words before highlighting their difference. Ethics can be defined as a code of behavior in reference to a group, whether it is a family, community or a nation. Morality or else Morals, on the other hand, are more personal in nature. The connection and the difference between the two can be interpreted in the following manner. Ethics in a social system refers to a philosophy whereas morality finds application.

What is Ethics?

Ethics is a very broad term that applies to a variety of contexts. You can have family ethics, company ethics, social ethics or even national ethics. These are socially accepted codes of behavior that are applicable in the immediate surroundings. For example, there are dos and don’ts in a company that makes up its ethics, and when you are on the premises of a company, you behave accordingly. In a family setting, also there are certain ethics. However, unlike in a corporate setting you are much more relaxed, when you are in your family in spite of the fact that there might be another set of ethics. Ethics is principles when it comes to politics and social laws. These ethical standards set parameters for human behavior and help in preventing misconduct and misdeeds such as theft, rape, violence, fraud, and slander. On the other hand, these ethics help in spreading feelings of compassion, loyalty and honesty. Ethics is vital for a society because a society has ways of praising such behavior while at the same time reprimanding conducts that are against the ethical code of behavior.

Difference Between Ethics and Morality- Ethics

What is Morality?

When concentrating on morality, it is more or less a personalized form of these ethics as different people set different sets of morals for themselves. Morality refers to a set of beliefs that people believe in and practice accordingly. Morals help a person in choosing a course of action whenever he is in a dilemma. They become a guiding force in life and help in leading a decent, disciplined life. Let us take an example to understand what is meant by morality.  In the past, abortion  was considered as both morally as well as ethically wrong since it results in the killing of a living being. Whatever the circumstances, most people believe that this is a manner of taking away the right to live in another human being. But nowadays in most countries it has been legalized, making it ethically correct. However despite the fact that it has been legalized, most people believe that this is morally incorrect. This highlights that it is more of an opinion or set of guidelines for an individual, rather than an agreed upon set of rules. The connection between the two can be understood through another example. The difference between ethics and morality gets highlighted when a person works in an organization where ethics is not in conformity with his morals. If the ethics of the company or the codes of conduct are not in synch with the morality of the person, he may be torn between his morality and these ethics. In life in general, you may have your views on homosexuality and consider it as immoral but you would be ethically wrong to discriminate against a person if you know he is homosexual.

Difference Between Ethics and Morality - Morality

What is the Difference Between Ethics and Morality?

  • Ethics is codes of conduct that pertain to a community, family, company or a nation. On the other hand, morality refers to personal sets of beliefs about what is right and wrong
  • Ethics is accepted by the entity of the community but morals are not.
  • People have their morals that may or may not be in sync with society’s ethics.


Image Courtesy:

1. Office-195960_640 [Public Domain], via pixabay

2. “GIORDANO, Luca fallen angels” by Luca Giordano [Public Domain], via Wikimedia Commons