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How to Differentiate Morals from Ethics

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According to my simple and superficial knowledge, Moral is related to our costumes, manner, rules, beliefs and convention stablished by society. For example; Honesty, understanding, compassion, concepts that we have to be a good people. Whereas, Ethics is associated with moral values that guide the people’s behavior in a society. For example; government laws, our family’s rules, in other words, follow the actions that do not put us in trouble. Although, I have learned that Moral and Ethics are not the same meaning and that may sometimes you might be ethic but no moral and vice versa.

Let’s check the dictionary and see meaning of these two words that seem to be quite similar, although, very complex.

Cambridge Dictionary (

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Relating to the standards of good or bad behaviour, fairness, honesty, etc. that each person believes in, rather than to laws:

  • It's her moral obligation to tell the police what she knows.
  • It is not part of a novelist's job to make a moral judgment.
  • She was the only politician to condemn the proposed law on moral grounds (= for moral reasons).
  • The Democrats are attempting to capture the moral high ground (= are trying to appear more honest and good than the other political parties).


The study of what is morally right and wrong, or a set of beliefs about what is morally right and wrong: They’re completely lacking in ethics. However, studying intensely about these terms, we may see much deeper meaning than only a concept of beliefs.

Harry Frankfurt says that Ethics is concerned with “how to behave” – with “ordering our relations with other people” (1982, p. 257). He claims that the questions of “what to care about” and “what to do with ourselves” (p. 257), falls outside of ethics. My tactic is to agree that such questions fall outside of the set of concerns which preoccupy professional ethicists, but to deny that they normally fall outside of a particular culture’s moral conception.

From a philosophical point of view and according to Harry Frankfurt, I assume that Ethics is connected with interpersonal behavior and with what the other thinks about that behavior. Ethics is interconnected with what we should be careful about, how we should control ourselves through our actions and attitudes.


  1. Cambridge Dictionary (
  2. Book: Varieties of Moral, Personality, Ethics and Psychological realism.
  3. Author: Owen Flanagan. Edition 1993
  4. Ebook Link: (
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How to Differentiate Morals from Ethics. (2022, Jun 09). Edubirdie. Retrieved March 3, 2024, from
“How to Differentiate Morals from Ethics.” Edubirdie, 09 Jun. 2022,
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