Morals vs Ethics

Morals and Ethics – though basically are the philosophies of right and wrong, cannot be easily defined. The difference arise based on the source of origin of these principles – whether it is from the society’s side or from the individual’s side. Theodore Sturgeon defines morals and ethics as below :


Society’s code for individual survival.


An individual’s code for society’s survival.
In the case of morality or ethics, the source of origin of code is different (society/individual), but it is always the individuals who practice it.

Morality explained :

Morals answers the question how should an individual live in society? The code is provided by society and that code should be obeyed by the individual for his own survival. Morality answers the question what is good for the individual? Morality exists in those societies having commitment towards each individual.
Example 1: Society calls a person Immoral person, if he deviates from existing society rules.
Example 2: Correctness of naked man in a nudist group.

Ethics explained :

The code is provided by the individual. It is for the survival of the society. Not for his survival in the society  but for the survival of the society itself. Ethics answers the question what is good for the society? Ethics belong to those who have social commitment.
Example 1: A person ( company or group) can be called unethical if he deviates from his own set of rules/ principles laid as part of his social commitment.
Example 2: Ethics of a doctor, Ethics of a lawyer, Business ethics etc.
Example 3: Releasing a human who threatens someone’s life is not an ethical act.
Example 4: Ethical hacking is hacking with individual principles – aimed at the welfare of the society.