Morality and Ethics

The sense of doing ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ refers to morality and ethics. While morals are concerned with principles of right and wrong, ethics are related to right and wrong conduct of an individual in a particular situation. Many use the two terms as synonyms, but there are slight and subtle differences between morals and ethics. Let me give an example to clarify these two issues: morals are how you treat people you know. On the other hand, Ethics are how you treat people you don’t know.

Your morality is what makes you a good wife, husband, dad, mother or a good friend.  Even a good employee or boss to the people you know personally in the company. Your ethics however are what make you a good doctor.  It is what makes you a well behaved police officer or a politician.

For a large society, a society where you cannot know everyone, to work the basis of ethics must be moral means a person should treat all human equally ignoring the biased concept of family and friends first. Some people say, ethics must come before morality in case of dealing with a large number of unknown people. On the contrary I personally feel, by acting morally if someone can act ethically then ethics first and then comes morality is a vague issue. This is because unless there is a strong consistent moral base –founded on something substantial – ethics will be subjected to convenience, vested interest and fudge factors.


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