Moral and Ethic

What is ethics and morals?

In philosophical context, ethics and morals have different meanings. Ethics is related to the well-founded study of the moral values ​​that guide human behavior in society, while morality is the customs, norms, taboos and agreements established by each society.

The relationship between ethics and morals lies in the fact that both are responsible for building the foundation that will guide man’s conduct, determining his character, his altruism and his virtues, and for teaching the best way to act and behave in society.

Although both words are usually related, they refer to different concepts. Let’s look at each one separately first.


The word ethics comes from the Greek ethos which means ‘form of being’ or ‘character’.

Ethics studies the principles that should govern human behavior when trying to explain moral rules in a rational, grounded, scientific and theoretical way.

It can be said that ethics is, in this sense, a theorization of morality, which even helps to define our own criteria about what happens around us.

Although ethics normally supports or justifies moral practices, at other times it seems to contradict them.

For example,

In any culture we are taught that when we interact with people, especially when we meet them, we must treat them with respect. respect. That is, use language appropriate to the situation and an affable tone, and avoid unnecessary confrontations.

Respect for others is a fundamental principle of ethics. It is not subordinated to any cultural context but must be practiced before all kinds of people without discrimination of origin, race, sex, orientation or religion. Ethics, therefore, does not discriminate according to the universe of uses and customs.

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See also:

  • Ethics
  • Ethical values
  • types of ethics


The word moral derives from the Latin word moralis, which means ‘related to customs’. Therefore, morality is defined as expressions of behavior based on the values ​​and traditions of a society.

In other words, morality is the set of rules that apply in everyday life and are continually used by all citizens.

These norms guide each individual, directing their actions and their judgments about what is right or wrong, that is, good or bad within a scale of values ​​shared by the social group.

For example,

Until the 19th century, morality dictated that divorce was “immoral.” For example, a woman could not get a divorce if her husband was unfaithful to her, as custom dictated that the marriage institution and the family were above the offense. Today, it is understood that what is “immoral” lies in infidelity, since it threatens the family and marriage. Therefore, the divorce is accepted.

See also:

  • Moral
  • Moral values
  • Examples of moral standards

Difference Between Ethics and Morality

To better understand the difference between ethics and morals, we present the following comparative table:

Affair Ethics Moral
Concept Theorizes about the principles and values ​​that should govern human behavior. It refers to the practices and customs established according to a scale of values.
Character It is a normative discipline. It is a descriptive discipline.
Basis It is based on individual reflection. It is based on social custom.
Method Reflection. Imposition (rules and customs).
reach in time It aims to build absolute, universal and imperishable values. Their values ​​are relative to the society that shares them and change according to the times and the dominant ideology.
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See also:

  • Values
  • 7 examples of ethics in everyday life