We greatly encounter moral and ethical issues, in our day to day life. Perhaps, these two defines a personality, attitude, and behavior of a person. The word Morals is derived from a Greek word “Mos” which means custom. On the other hand, if we talk about Ethics, it is also derived from a Greek word “Ethikos” which means character. Put simply, morals are the customs established by group of individuals whereas ethics defines the character of an individual.
While morals are concerned with principles of right and wrong, ethics are related to right and wrong conduct of an individual in a particular sitution. Many use the two terms as synonyms, but there are slight and subtle differences between morals and ethis, which are described in the article below.
Content: Morals Vs Ethics
|Basis for Comparison||Morals||Ethics|
|Meaning||Morals are the beliefs of the individual or group as to what is right or wrong.||Ethics are the guiding principles which help the individual or group to decide what is good or bad.|
|What is it?||Response to a specific situation||General principles set by group|
|Root word||Mos which means custom||Ethikos which means character|
|Governed By||Social and cultural norms||Individual or Legal and Professional norms|
|Deals with||Principles of right and wrong||Right and wrong conduct|
|Applicability in Business||No||Yes|
|Consistency||Morals may differ from society to society and culture to culture.||Ethics are generally uniform.|
|Expression||Morals are expressed in the form of general rules and statements.||Ethics are abstract.|
|Freedom to think and choose||No||Yes|
Definition of Morals
Morals are the social, cultural and religious beliefs or values of an individual or group which tells us what is right or wrong. They are the rules and standards made by the society or culture which is to be followed by us while deciding what is right. Some moral principles are:
- Do not cheat
- Be loyal
- Be patient
- Always tell the truth
- Be generous
Morals refer to the beliefs what is not objectively right, but what is considered right for any situation, so it can be said that what is morally correct may not be objectively correct.
Definition of Ethics
Ethics is a branch of philosophy that deals with the principles of conduct of an individual or group. It works as a guiding principle as to decide what is good or bad. They are the standards which govern the life of a person. Ethics is also known as moral philosophy. Some ethical principles are:
Key Differences Between Morals and Ethics
The major differences between Morals and Ethics are as under:
- Morals deal with what is ‘right or wrong’. Ethics deals with what is ‘good or evil’.
- Morals are general guidelines framed by the society E.g. We should speak truth. Conversely, ethics are a response to a particular situation, E.g. Is it ethical to state the truth in a particular situation?
- The term morals is derived from a Greek word ‘mos’ which refers to custom and the customs are determined by group of individuals or some authority. On the other hand, ethics is originated from Greek word ‘ethikos’ which refers to character and character is an attribute.
- Morals are dictated by society, culture or religion while Ethics are chosen by the person himself which governs his life.
- Morals are concerned with principles of right and wrong. On the contrary, ethics stresses on right and wrong conduct.
- As morals are framed and designed by the group, there is no option to think and choose; the individual can either accept or reject. Conversely, the people are free to think and choose the principles of his life in ethics.
- Morals may vary from society to society and culture to culture. As opposed to Ethics, which remains same regardless of any culture, religion or society.
- Morals do not have any applicability to business, whereas Ethics is widely applicable in the business known as business ethics.
- Morals are expressed in the form of statements, but Ethics are not expressed in the form of statements.
- If the son of a big politician has committed a crime and he uses his powers to free his son from legal consequences. Then this act is immoral because the politician is trying to save a culprit.
- A very close friend or relative of an interviewer comes for an interview and without asking a single question, he selects him. This act is unethical because the selection process must be transparent and unbiased.
- A grocer sells adulterated products to his customers to earn more profit. This act is neither moral nor ethical because he is cheating his customers and profession at the same time.
Every single individual has some principles which help him throughout his life to cope up with any adverse situation; they are known as ethics. On the other hand, Morals are not the hard and fast rules or very rigid, but they are the rules which a majority of people considered as right. That is why the people widely accept them. This is all for differentiating Morals from Ethics.