What is the difference between an ethical person and a moral person?

@DWDavis (10774)
Pikeville, North Carolina
September 7, 2015 12:56pm CST
I was in a Bible study at church a couple years ago and the Deacon asked the group if they knew the answer to this question. He then gave me a pointed look as he and I had actually discussed this very topic a few days earlier when I'd stopped by his office on another matter. I correctly took that look to mean that I was not to answer. Many of the men, it was a men's Bible study, thought there was no difference between the two. I was reminded of this particular question when I saw @Berniezeitler 's discussions about situation ethics. So, what do you think the difference between an ethical person and moral person is?
9 people like this
8 responses
• United States
7 Sep 15
@DWDavis I look at it in this way: A Person Does not have to have Morals to have ethics, but a Moral person will always have ethics. Morals are tied to strong beliefs in right and wrong and as such their ethics seldom change as a result of the situation they are in. Ethics are set by others and depend on social norms. A good example is how the court system works, especially the Supreme Court. At one time the ethical stance was that a situation was wrong. The court hears a case before it on the situation and can make something that is believed morally wrong as ethically right.
7 people like this
• United States
7 Sep 15
I see that Bernie.
3 people like this
@1wldngl (3991)
• United States
7 Sep 15
I have to agree here with BernieZ. He said it better than I could have anyway.
2 people like this
@cynthiann (18619)
• Jamaica
7 Sep 15
What a clear explanation - many thanks
2 people like this
@GardenGerty (96819)
• Marion, Kansas
7 Sep 15
Ethical people believe in rules and in following them. Moral people have the rules ingrained into their very being.
7 people like this
• United States
7 Sep 15
See that is what I think too GG..people with morals do the right thing.
4 people like this
@drannhh (15088)
• United States
7 Sep 15
I cannot help having fun with this one by saying it was not immoral of the deacon to to give you a pointed look, but it may have been a bit unethical.
6 people like this
@owlwings (38900)
• Cambridge, England
8 Sep 15
I think that's a very nice distinction between them!
2 people like this
• United States
7 Sep 15
Just off the top of my head DW, an ethical person is one who subscribes to the theories of morality. A moral person puts those theories into action.
5 people like this
@GardenGerty (96819)
• Marion, Kansas
7 Sep 15
I do not think I can top this with any of my insights.
2 people like this
• United States
7 Sep 15
@GardenGerty Hi GG. I dont know if thats right tho, but it is just what I was thinking, like you know all those ethics committees, all they do is talk about it haha
1 person likes this
@cynthiann (18619)
• Jamaica
7 Sep 15
Wow! you are so bright!
2 people like this
@Susan2015 (20214)
• United States
7 Sep 15
I would say that Ethics are what one believes in. Morals are what we live by, hopefully good ones.
4 people like this
@Raelove (16819)
• Saco, Maine
8 Sep 15
I've long thought that ethics are geared to particular practices and situations, such as medical ethics, which dictate that certain rules be followed by doctors and other practitioners. Our morals govern how we live our entire lives, not just portions of it. I think both concepts overlap in many instances, but I tend to see morals on a more spiritual plane and ethics on a humanistic one. There again, the two go hand-in-hand, in my opinion.
3 people like this
@Shellyann36 (8915)
• United States
27 Sep 15
Morals are core values that could be from a religious upbringing and ethics are more about what happens when we are in dealings with other people be it in the neighborhood, the office, or in other public situations where there is more being exchanged than words.
1 person likes this
@DWDavis (10774)
• Pikeville, North Carolina
3 Oct 15
Most morals are based on religious teachings and most religious teachings are based on the rules humans came up with that allowed them to live relatively peacefully with each other as they began to settle in communities thousands of years ago.
1 person likes this
• Preston, England
21 Sep 15
morals and ethics are usually used as interchangeable terms. You may be moral without thinking or knowing why; you know instinctively that crime such as theft is wrong or don't steal because the law or religion says so - ethics is a more systematic code and a thought out process of decision making on a course of action. You might face a dilemma that means having to think about a course of action, in which case the decision becomes ethical rather than just moral.
1 person likes this