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What is the difference between Ethics and Morality? Essay

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Since the beginning of humanity, people have used morality and ethical principles to foster peaceful coexistence in society. Moreover, morality and ethics constantly change and evolve and may vary significantly depending on cultural and social contexts. Though morality and ethics define human behavior in different situations, they are very different. It is also important to note that different schools of philosophers provide different explanations of the terms “ethics” and “morality.”

While talking about morality, people consider it a social construct that defines whether certain behavior, event, or action is right or wrong. However, morality is also often a personal construct, which means that every person has intrinsic morality, which is also influenced by social morality. For example, in the past, it was morally acceptable to burn people suspected of witchcraft; however, some individuals still considered it immoral and wrong. Thus, morality is formed by culture, religion, traditions, and social rules. In some cases, certain actions may be considered ethical, but they may be immoral and vice versa. For example, it is immoral to protect a criminal who committed a murder. However, lawyers are influenced by professional ethics, which obliges them to protect a person even if there are no doubts that person is a criminal.

The above example shows that ethical norms can contradict social and personal morality. Therefore, ethics can be defined as a certain set of rules used by professionals and small social groups to make utilitarian decisions. Moreover, ethical rules and principles are usually strictly defined. Therefore they have an objective nature, while morality is often more subjective. Almost every profession has an ethical code, which can be found on the internet, and professionals must follow this code to be respected within their social group. Even though ethics can contradict the morality of a certain person, the person must follow ethical rules because they help to regulate social interactions and ensure that person will act according to these rules in certain situations. It helps to create a certain kind of social contract where the behavior of professionals becomes predictable. Moreover, it helps to make important decisions without using subjective judgments and morality, which makes these decisions more objective. For example, doctors are obliged not to disclose any information about their patients to third parties, even if it relates to certain morality issues. The same can be said about priests listening to the confessions of believers. If a believer has committed something immoral and even illegal, it is unethical to tell others about his deeds to others.

Ethical rules for professionals are more important than rules of morality. For instance, while in some countries, it is immoral to be homosexual, and it even can be punished by death, doctors still must help homosexuals because they must act according to ethical codes and principles. Ethics is focused on decreasing the role of morality, while morality is focused on helping people act in society in everyday life.

It is impossible to deny that both ethics and morality are quite useful; however, they should be used in different contexts. In some situations, a person should use morality. However, it is important to use ethics in others because morality can negatively influence important decisions. While morality may form subjective attitudes towards certain things, ethics makes people ignore subjectivism and act more rationally.

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