Ethics Vs Morality

Article 1 – Ethics Vs Morality

Ethics and morality are concerned with “good” and “wrong” behaviour. Although they are sometimes used interchangeably, they are not the same: Ethics refers to regulations established by an outside source, such as workplace codes of behaviour or religious values. Morals are a person’s own beliefs about what is good and wrong.



The term ethics is derived from the Greek word ethos. The definition of ethos is a personality.

Morals is derived from the Latin word Mos. Mos is a word that means “custom.”

Ethics is governed by legal norms and professional rules. The acceptability of ethics is limited to a specific location and time frame.

When it comes to the acceptability of Morality, it goes beyond the cultural standards.

Ethics are influenced by the viewpoints of others.

Morality is viewed through the eyes of a single person.

If the circumstances are different, the ethics may alter as well, indicating that ethics may be flexible.

Morality evolves in response to changes in an individual’s views.

Ethics are upheld because society has determined that it is the best course of action.

Morality is followed because it is seen to be the best path of conduct.

A person who follows ethical principles does not have to have strong moral beliefs; in fact, it’s possible that he doesn’t have any morals at all.

There may be times when a moral person’s moral ideals are broken in order to sustain his moral values.

Ethics is frequently connected with fields such as law, medicine, and business. The term “ethics” has no religious meaning.

Morality has a religious connection

The work of a defence attorney is an example of ethics colliding with morality in the workplace. A lawyer’s principles may tell her that murder is wrong and that murderers should be punished, but her professional ethics oblige her to defend her client to the best of her ability, even if she knows the client is guilty.

Another example is in the realm of medicine. According to ethical norms for health practitioners in most areas of the globe, a doctor may not euthanize a patient, even if the patient requests it. However, a doctor’s own morality may lead him or her to believe in a patient’s right to death.

Law Vs Ethics

In basic terms, the law is a system of universally acknowledged rules and regulations imposed by an appropriate authority, such as the government, which might be regional, national, or international. It is used to regulate the members’ actions and conduct, and it can be enforced by applying fines.

The terms law and ethics are sometimes used interchangeably, but there is a distinction: ethics are the principles that guide a person or community in determining what is good or bad, right or wrong, in a particular scenario. It uses moral norms and principles to govern a person’s behaviour or conduct and assist them in living a decent life.

Comparison Chart





The law refers to a systematic body of rules that governs the whole society and the actions of its individual members.

Ethics is a branch of moral philosophy that guides people about the basic human conduct.

What is it?

Set of rules and regulations

Set of guidelines

Governed By


Individual, Legal and Professional norms


Expressed and published in writing.

They are abstract.


Violation of law is not permissible which may result in punishment like imprisonment or fine or both.

There is no punishment for violation of ethics.


Law is created with an intent to maintain social order and peace in the society and provide protection to all the citizens.

Ethics are made to help people to decide what is right or wrong and how to act.


Law has a legal binding.

Ethics do not have a binding nature.

  • Both laws and ethics have the same goal of regulating human behaviour in a way that is beneficial to civilised social existence. They instil a feeling of good and wrong in people.
  • Laws are a collection of established principles that the government enforces. They serve as external responsibilities. Ethics, on the other hand, refers to a system of rules that govern our internal compass and decisions.
  • Both arise from shared factors such as religion, communal values, cultural background, and a sense of fairness, among others. Ethics, on the other hand, might arise from one’s own growth, personal experiences, personal decisions, and so on.
  • While laws apply to everyone in the same way, ethics differ from person to person and change more frequently than laws.
  • In the event of a violation of the law, the state has the authority to punish. As a result, they serve as a means of retributive justice. Ethics, on the other hand, are not enforced.

The relationship between laws and ethics :

  • Many laws reflect the ethics of the period and have been formed by what is considered ethical at the time. For example, the notion that everyone is equal before the law is based on the belief that everyone are born equal.
  • Laws have shaped ethics at the same time. They’ve been utilised to fight back against regressive ideas. For example, when Sati was outlawed, it was not an immoral practise and had religious justification. However, suitable legislation was finally enacted to put an end to the unethical acts.
  • Some activities are legal but unethical, while others are lawful but unethical. For example, lying to a friend is unethical but not necessarily unlawful. In many nations, any speech critical of the government is illegal, yet individuals should be allowed to air their complaints.
  • We might conclude from the foregoing that laws alone are insufficient to encourage ethical behaviour. The reason for this is that laws can never be comprehensive enough to address every potential case. As a result, prudence will always be an option. Ethical behaviour should emerge from inside in such situations.
  • There are several instances in which laws are impossible to enact. We cannot, for example, have rigorous regulations that investigate every minor act of corruption.
  • Even with regulations in place, unethical acts persist. For example, regulations prohibiting violence against women have been in place for a long time. However, this has not resulted in the cessation of similar activities.

Key Differences Between Law and Ethics

  1. The law is described as a set of laws that regulates the entire society as well as individual individuals’ behaviours. Ethics is the science of proper human behaviour.
  2. The law is a system of laws and regulations, whereas ethics is a set of guidelines and principles that tell individuals how to live and act in certain situations.
  3. The government, which might be municipal, regional, national, or worldwide, creates the legislation. Ethics, on the other hand, are guided by personal, legal, or professional rules, such as workplace ethics or environmental ethics.
  4. The constitution enshrines the law in writing form. It, unlike ethics, does not exist in written form.
  5. A violation of the law can result in a fine, a penalty, or both, but a violation of ethics does not.
  6. The law’s goal is to maintain social order and peace in the country, as well as to provide safety to all inhabitants. Ethics, on the other hand, is a code of behaviour that guides a person in determining what is right and wrong, as well as how to act.
  7. The law imposes a legal obligation on people, whereas ethics has no such obligation.

True, if a society was ethical, there would be no need for laws to function as external checks. However, this is a hypothetical situation. Laws and ethics each have a distinct role to play. Both are equally vital and complement each other.

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