Difference Between Ethics vs Morals

Difference Between Ethics vs Morals

As a normal human being, we are all a result of our environment (and biology, of course). The way we perceive things as either right or wrong, how we act in certain situations, and how we treat others can be traced to the influence of our surroundings.

In the ethics vs morals comparison, one can see how both of these words describe the context above. One can also see how they are different from one another. To throw more light on this, we have described them in the most comprehensive manner possible as you can see below, and we have put up a comparison table to highlight the key differences between the two.

Definition of Ethics

Ethics is defined as rules guiding the conduct of a particular class of human actions, usually in respect to one’s ability to decide between right and wrong. It affects a person’s lifestyle and what decisions they make in certain situations, especially in a professional setting.

For instance, there are rules guiding the conduct of medical practitioners with regard to their patients. One of the most common is the privacy and confidentiality of their patient’s information. Breaking this rule may result in a medical malpractice suit.

As a rule, physicians are also not expected to treat themselves or members of their immediate family. This is because their emotions may unduly cloud their judgment and influence the medical process.

From what has been explained above, one can see that these rules are mostly governed by individual and professional norms, especially the latter. They are typically uniform in every situation regardless of one’s background and societal status. For instance, the patient-doctor confidentiality is applicable in Asia as much as it is in Africa.

Definition of Morals

Morals are defined as the principles guiding one’s community, religious, and cultural values on what is good or bad. It is highly influenced by external factors that guide a person’s belief. In comparing morals vs ethics, it is obvious that the former is about good and evil while the latter is about right and wrong. As similar as they may sound, they are not necessarily the same.

Since these principles are a function of the principles and religion of a person, it may not apply in a different circle with a different principle and religion. What is considered right in a particular religious circle may be considered an abomination in another.

A good instance is the case of blood transfusion and the Jehovah’s Witness (JW) Christian denomination. Unlike most other Christians, the JW believe that it is against the will of God to receive blood, and as such, they see blood transfusion as an abomination.

Also, in the case of limited resources, a doctor can go ahead to treat his family member. This may be unethical, but it does not make it an evil act. If the doctor can keep his emotions in check, he is as good as any other.

Main Differences Between Ethics vs Morals

From the description above, you may be able to answer the question – what is the difference between ethics and morals? That notwithstanding, we have gone ahead to answer this question by comparing the two.

Basis of ComparisonEthicsMorals
DefinitionRules guiding the conduct of a particular class of human actions, usually in respect to one’s ability to decide between right and wrongThe principles guiding one’s social, religious, and cultural values on what is good or bad
InterpretationReaction in certain situationPersonal beliefs and principles
Influenced byIndividual or professional normSocial, religious, and cultural norms
ConsistencyMostly the sameDiffers with society

Difference Between Ethics and Morals: Conclusion

In conclusion, we hope you have learned the difference between morals and ethics. So long as humanity is concerned, these two would continue to guide our existence.

A person can have one or both of them to help them get through life and effectively cope with any situation they may come across. While the former is based on what a person has been exposed to, mostly from a very young age, the latter is based on what a person has learned over the course of their profession or certain conditions.