clopha asked in Arts & HumanitiesPhilosophy · 1 decade ago

Ethics and morality - what would you say that was not said?

Observation (which response do you like?)

Too often "ethics and morality" used almost as synonyms. This ambiguity and can be exploited.

Response 1

Ethics regards a wide range of relationships; morality

regards one's own emotional/spiritual health; they are

different, but very interdependent. Ethics is like the

relationship of the planets to each other and the sun,

whereas morality is equivalent to each planet revolving on its own axis.

Response 2

The analogy of the planets' interaction among

themselves (ethics) vis-a-vis their own rotation

around their own axis (morals) seems appropriate. If

individuals revolve around a moral axis (this is often

called a "moral compass") then their relations among each other will be ethical.

Response 3

My Microsoft Outlook thesaurus under tools shows “unethical” as a synonym for “amoral” but not for “immoral” However, “immoral” is a synonym for “amoral”! The breaking of the circle in the synonym links indicates that the issue is a bit foggy.

4 Answers

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  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Ethics is pretty universally considered to be a philosophical study of the concepts of 'good', 'bad', 'right', 'wrong', and so on, and how those concepts are applied and used. If you think about it, then, this slants ethics slightly in a specific way.

    Philosophy as a whole is founded on logic, reason, argument, defensibility, and so on. It tries to make as few assumptions as possible and come to as accurate and realistic conclusions as possible. This will tend to mean that ethical systems, being philosophical ones, will have many of those same tendancies.

    There are, however, many who have argued that there is no reason why such a system MUST be reasonable, or even capable of being understood in any way. Proponents of such ideas suggest that ethics is as futile as arguing about whether there is a law of gravity. To them the notions that ethics tries to address are either unchangeable and imposed from the outside (by a god, perhaps) or are completely nonexistant and fictional. In such contexts, the subject which ethics tries to study is usually called morality.

    So it would probably be fair to say that ethics tries to study morality, but that morality is not necessarily subject to study.

    The two subjects do not apply to different spheres, they just carry different underlying assumptions. This is why there is much confusion between the two, and why they are called synonyms by some people and not by others.

  • 1 decade ago

    "Immoral" is not a synonym for "amoral." "Immoral" is going against morality, violating norms. "Amoral" on the other hand means not even raising the question of morality. "Amoral" is not a synonym of "unethical" either. "Unethical" more properly means "immoral." Don't put too much stock in your Outlook thesaurus, it was only programmed to give words which have roughly similar popular uses, not offer analytical distinctions.

    As a student of philosophy with a strong interest in ethics, I can tell you among professional philosophers and ethicists, there is no real difference between ethics and morality. They just have different origins. Ethics comes from Greek and Moral from Latin. Moral philosophy is ethics. Ethics/moral philosophy is the study of what we ought to do. If a distinction was going to be drawn between the two though, I would say you probably have it backwards. If one of the two was going to mean personal conduct towards oneself, it would more likely be ethics, since in Greek it meant more of a way of living one's life as a whole than specific prohibitions on one's conduct toward others. I think the the origins of morality were more similar to our idea of law, and was more specifically regulating conduct towards others. But like I said the words we use today actually mean the same thing.

  • 1 decade ago

    ethics is the macro and morality the micro study of human behavior and activity.

    i dont see that immoral is a synonym of amoral.

    immoral means something that defies the standards of morality.

    amoral means not concerned with morality., ie, neutral concerning morality but not seeking to be immoral.

    unethical isnt a synonym for amoral.

    unethical openly defies ethics.

    amoral as mentioned above means not concerned with morality.

    i dont like any of the three responses .

    but Response 3 is the weakest.

  • 1 decade ago

    I guess it is more important to know them & behave considering them than to find the slight diffrences :)

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