Difference between Ethics and Morality (with examples)

The difference between ethics and morality is that morality refers to the set of rules and principles which are based on the culture and customs of a certain social group. In the other hand, ethics is the study and reflection on moralitywhich allows an individual to discern between what is right and what is wrong.

An easy way to remember the difference between morality and ethics is that morality applies to a group, such as customs that must be obeyed in order to act well, while ethics comes from the individual’s reflection on what actions are morals and which ones are not.

Both concepts have been interpreted in different ways historically, by various currents of thought, and even vary according to the field in which they are used (morality in religion, ethics in business). In any case, this interpretation of ethics and morality is very common today.

ethics moral

It is the study and reflection on morality, the rules of conduct applied to some organization or society.

It refers to the rules of conduct that apply to a certain group and their actions, regarding what is good, bad, acceptable or right.


Ethics are usually consistent, although they may change if an individual’s beliefs change or depending on the given situation.

Morality tends to be consistent within a certain context, being understood in the same way by everyone. However, each culture or human group has different morals.


A person may go against their ethics to conform to a certain moral principle, such as the code of conduct of their profession.

A person who strictly follows the moral principles of a society may not have any ethics. Similarly, in order to maintain his ethical integrity, this person may violate moral principles within a given system of rules.


Ethics comes from the Greek word ethos which means ‘conduct’, ‘way of being’.

Moral comes from the Latin word morals which means ‘custom’.








Theorist: Why are there or what principles or actions are moral? – What are the parameters by which an individual governs life?

Practical: A person acts in accordance with what is supposed to be “good”, according to the same individual, a group or society.


The reasons justifying whether it is moral behavior in a society to have a partner are analysed.

In Mexico it is immoral to have more than one wife, while in some countries like Nigeria it is morally accepted.

What is ethics?

Ethics refers to the study and analysis of morality to come to one’s own thinking as an individual or a group about what is right and what is wrong. Even so, each person can have a judgment about the facts that occur around them and behave in accordance with their thinking.

Then the concept of ethics can mean the knowledge taken from the research of human behavior in trying to explain the moral rules of form rational.

Although an individual can use his ethics to question moral values ​​and disagree with certain approaches, he can also support and reflect other values ​​in his daily life. That is, one can confront these moral values ​​or support them.

In other words, ethics is generally understood as an internal exercise, theoretical, whose purpose is to define what makes something moral. That is why it is considered as a study of morality (practical, external and socially shared).

What is moral?

Morality is the set of values ​​and rules defined by a certain group or culture, which is common to all its members. Being so, morality is what defines how people should behave in the social environment.

These customs guide the judgments of each individual on how to act, often unconsciously, according to what was previously accepted as a norm among a certain group.

When we talk about morality, the definitions of what is right or wrong depend on where the individual is, on tradition, culture, education and everyday life.

If a person comes to have a moral dilemma about his way of acting, challenging the established morality, he can find himself in a moment of ethical reflection on the morality of his society.

Where do moral and ethical principles come from?

Morality is an external pattern that can be provided by institutions, groups or by the culture to which an individual belongs. It can also be considered a social system or structure for acceptable behavior.

Ethics, despite being influenced by culture and society, is made up of personal principles created and sustained by the individuals themselves.

Consistency and flexibility

Morality is very consistent within a given context, but may vary between cultures or eras.

For example, something morally accepted in today’s society might have been immoral in the 1970s.

Ethics is how the individual reflects on certain morals, and it is possible for certain events to radically modify an individual’s personal beliefs and values.

Origin of the concept of ethics and morality

Much of the confusion between these two words comes from their origins. The word “ethics” comes from Latin ethical and it refers to behaviors, to the way of being. The word moral comes from Latin morals, which refers to customs. So originally both have very similar meanings.

The morality and ethics of the individual have been studied philosophically for more than a thousand years. However, the idea of ​​ethics as the study of principles and those conditions that define and apply to morality is relatively new, dating from the 17th century.

Example of detic lus

The concept of ethics is used when we reflect on the morality accepted in a given society, and we can accept or question it.

For example: “The code of ethics of the conservative political party states among its precepts that its members will demonstrate against abortion, regardless of the causes, even if therapeutic abortion has already been approved in the country “.

Example of moral lust

Morality refers to certain norms and behaviors created and accepted in a certain social group, which may vary according to place or time.

For example: “In the past, it was immoral for women to wear pants, but today it is morally accepted.”

See also

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