morals vs ethics

Serious discussions on politics, religion, and the like.

morals vs ethics

Postby goku90504 » Sun Oct 16, 2016 4:12 am

what's the difference? as i understand things the terms seem interchangeable more or less but i've seen in your ... comic comments? .... that you have a clearly defined difference though i haven't quite figured out what that difference is yet
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Re: morals vs ethics

Postby JustinReilly » Wed Oct 19, 2016 12:52 pm

My Ethics professor in college (though mind, this was *ehem*ty years ago and I may not remember accurately) defined them as morals are the rules for day-to-day living you (aspire to) follow, and ethics is the system of reasoning you use to create the rules.
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Re: morals vs ethics

Postby mouse » Mon Nov 28, 2016 5:08 am

I usually see it as a set of morals is a system of value, and ethics is a system for interacting between people who have different values.
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Re: morals vs ethics

Postby Tamfang » Fri Dec 02, 2016 7:04 pm

In my personal lexicon: ethics are standards of fair dealing, morals may include other values.
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Re: morals vs ethics

Postby JustinReilly » Sun Dec 04, 2016 7:08 am

Out of curiosity, I just looked at a half-dozen sites (actual philosophy blogs and such, no yahoo answers or such twaddle) and found a half-dozen different definitions. On one hand, I'm a bit surprised that such common terms of art within philosophy would be so ill defined, but on the other hand, 90% of philosophy is arguing about definitions.
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Re: morals vs ethics

Postby Phantom » Wed Jan 04, 2017 6:33 am

For a long time, I essentially thought the confusion of the terms was because they were effectively synonyms but people wanted to get away from "morality" because they merely wanted to feel like their ideas were unconventional, like their belief that murder is wrong is founded in something fundamentally different from any variation of a religious belief that it's wrong because life is valuable, or a utilitarian belief that it's usually wrong because it causes more subjective harm than subjective good. A way to talk about right and wrong while simultaneously being arrogantly dismissive of whatever they associate with conventional morality, or just religion.

In recent years, I'm seeing definitions like "Morality is understanding the distinction between right and wrong and living according to that understanding, and ethics is the philosophy of how that morality guides individual and group behavior. The two are closely related, with morality being the foundation of ethics," and then turning around in another place and finding the exact same definition, only reversed.

So now I get to stop being pessimistic and start being blissfully confused, a rare transition and a happy side effect of growing out of self-assured cynicism.
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Re: morals vs ethics

Postby gaeila » Thu Jan 26, 2017 9:34 pm

I think this boils down to a question of semantics. So, clearly, we need a DICTIONARY!

moral: mor·al noun plural noun: morals
1. a lesson, especially one concerning what is right or prudent, that can be derived from a story, a piece of information, or an experience.
"the moral of this story was that one must see the beauty in what one has"
synonyms: lesson, message, meaning, significance, signification, import, point, teaching "the moral of the story"

2. a person's standards of behavior or beliefs concerning what is and is not acceptable for them to do.
"the corruption of public morals"
synonyms: moral code, code of ethics, (moral) values, principles, standards, (sense of) morality, scruples
"he has no morals"

ethics: eth·ics ˈeTHiks/ noun plural noun: ethics; noun: ethics

1. moral principles that govern a person's behavior or the conducting of an activity.
"medical ethics also enter into the question"
synonyms: moral code, morals, morality, values, rights and wrongs, principles, ideals, standards (of behavior), value system, virtues, dictates of conscience
"your so-called newspaper is clearly not burdened by a sense of ethics"
the moral correctness of specified conduct.
"many scientists question the ethics of cruel experiments"

2. the branch of knowledge that deals with moral principles.

Does this help? It should. As a dictionary helpfully points out, the two are synonyms for each other. So, morals vs. ethics is basically nothing but an especially flimsy straw man.
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