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Debate Score:40
Arguments:16
Total Votes:45
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 What is the Difference Between Morals and Ethics? (16)

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Loudacris(912) pic



What is the Difference Between Morals and Ethics?

Who can concisely define the difference?

The difference between ethics and morals can seem somewhat arbitrary to many. Is it possible to define the difference in 25 words or less?

Vote for the argument that pegs it the best!

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6 points

Ethics means what is right/wrong based on reason while morals refers to what is considered right/wrong behavior based on social custom.

Supporting Evidence: Morals and Ethics (www.thenagain.info)
Side: Definitions
3 points

I don't think the meanings are ambiguous... Tamisan's got the right answer.

Side: Definitions

By Tamisan's definition, I have good ethics and terrible morals (because my ethics over ride my morals if reason/logic demands it).

Side: Your choice vs their choice
4 points

Morals are a matter of personal opinion, while ethics are the consensus opinion of a social system.

Side: Your choice vs their choice
3 points

Ethics is right, morals feel right

Side: Your choice vs their choice

The difference between them is slight, however, there is more than a marginal distinction when used pointedly. Morals are those which relate to the principles of right and wrong. Ethics are those which relate to good and evil.

Side: morals vs ethics
fruble(455) Disputed
1 point

I would argue quite the opposite. When one thinks of morals one is most likely to think of the Bible or Koran, just as much as one would more often than not think of the Constitution or legal code when one thinks about what is ethical. Is the story of Adam and Eve more an ethical one or a moral one? Is this whole debacle over sub-prime lending an ethical or moral issue? To be sure, a reasoned and safe answer would be both, but I submit that the "pointed" answer would be the first is a moral one; the second, an ethical.

Sin - something that one would describe more as evil than wrong - is a state that seems much deeper and longer lasting than something criminal. Criminals do acts that are wrong and against the law. But what if the laws were to change? Then that same act would no longer be wrong. For example, today, in most states, if you possessed enough marijuana, you would be breaking the law and go to jail. But if you were in Amsterdam, there is no such thing as too much. From a moral perspective, a change in law would bear no meaning in deeming the use drugs as negative - i.e. evil.

Side: morals vs ethics
3 points

Ethics is a societal code of what is right and wrong. Ethics become morals as they are internalized and become our guide to making decisions.

Side: morals vs ethics
fruble(455) Disputed
1 point

I'm a bit confused about how you are ending your argument. Are you saying we derive our morals out of our ethics - that ethics is the chicken before the moral egg? I think this is largely untrue. I would argue that ethics and morals are two spheres of interconnected, autonomous activity. Yes, there were societies and primitive ethics and laws centuries before the major religions arose. And sure, one could argue that all religions start as cults that react the the society from which they come from. But surely, you do not mean to say that the moral lessons of religion have their root in and derive their significance from ethical practices. First, it is entirely conceivable to have morals outside of society. Think of all of the celibate priests and nuns and itinerant monks who take themselves outside of society to practice their moral beliefs. Or of the incredibly personal connection that some people claim to have with God. Second, according to your definition, morals seem to be nothing more than internalized ethics. But morals seem to possess a power that at times transcend ethics. A conception of morals as internalized ethics seems inadequate to explain not whether you should but why you should go to church, temple, or prayer.

Another issue. Are you also saying that ethics do not guide our decisions before they have become internalized? So ethics cannot be internalized and simply stay ethics without transforming into morals? Don't ethics guide our decisions too?

Side: morals vs ethics
2 points

Ethics are principles of conduct YOU choose as a guiding philosophy. Morals are conforming to a standard of right behavior SOCIETY or RELIGION chooses.

Side: Your choice vs their choice
3 points

I agree but in the opposite way. I think that morals are your own philosophy and ethics are the norms of the society that you live in. like the code of conduct kind of.

Side: Your choice vs their choice
2 points

Ethics and morals are overlapping systems of beliefs and practices. Ethical values are guided by “right” or “wrong”; moral values by “good” or “bad.”

Side: Definitions

morals are what you are taught is right and wrong,they are told to you,

ethics are what you personally feel is right,for instance,the US had every moral REASON to invade Iraq,but ethically,they had no right to invade a sovereign country,ethics are an extension of reason and law.

Side: morals vs ethics
2 points

ethics will eventually replace or reside alongside law and reason

Supporting Evidence: ian x lungold (video.google.com)
Side: morals vs ethics
0 points

ETHICS: moral issues or "rightness"

MORALS: ethical judgment or "perception"

Poses the question...

Which can first, the chicken or the egg...very much like morals or ethics !?!?!

Side: morals vs ethics

The answer to, "which came first, the chicken or the egg?" can be found here:

http://tinyurl.com/6eql96

Supporting Evidence: Chicken or Egg (tinyurl.com)
Side: morals vs ethics