Moral and Ethical Ethics 

We often hear the words ethics and morals used interchangeably or paired as if either meaning the same thing or needing to go together.

Let’s look at the difference between these two words:

  • Morals have to do with personal conduct. They are generally recognized principles of good and bad and are often used when speaking of sexual conduct.
  • Ethics are rules of correct behavior, usually recognized or defined by a group. For example, research scientists might have a code of ethics regarding the use of animals in product testing.

An ethic is a moral rule that might be observed by some but disregarded by others. Your work ethic might be to put in at least eight hours of hard work each day, whereas your brother’s work ethic might be to put in a token effort, then spend the rest of the day watching the ballgame with a beer in hand.

  • Moral support is support in principle (not necessary practical).
  • Moral victory is success of good over bad.
  • Moral obligation is a duty to do what is considered right, regardless of other factors.

Morale is a sense of confidence, pride, high spirits, feeling valued.  When things look grim, we try to keep our morale up. A person can be amoral (without morals), but she can’t be amorale (without morale), because moral/amoral are adjectives and morale is a noun.


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