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Ethics
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Desire



Joined: 09 Jul 2006
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2006 9:58 pm    Post subject: Ethics Reply with quote

What are ethics precisely (and I don't mean just the dictionary meaning, how do they work connotatively too)?

How do they differ from morals or moral codes?

I thought I understood this but then I started thinking about it too closely and now I'm not sure anymore. I know we have people here who study ethics and such so I was hoping they could enlighten me a bit.
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Major Tom



Joined: 09 Jul 2006
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2006 10:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

as i understand and differentiate them:

moral codes are personal beliefs.

morals are either a set of moral codes one has adopted and attempts to live by based on a committment to a religious affiliation or predeliction...or the punchline to a grimm's fairytale.

ethics are a set of decision-making tools and rules of behavior that are based on beliefs and/or on legal requirements in a professional and/or personal setting.
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Desire



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PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2006 10:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So ethics on a national scale would be basically the judicial system?
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Major Tom



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PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2006 10:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

hmm, i'd like to say that the judicial system regards and guards the minimum standard of ethics...

...but i guess what you said might be true.

still, i think some legal things are 'unethical'. i guess that's where the 'personal belief' thing kicks in.
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Desire



Joined: 09 Jul 2006
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2006 10:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well I was mostly thinking how you would go about setting up or establishing a set of ethics or codes on a national level that had nothing to do with religion. It struck me that our judicial system could be considered such... but as you say, in some ways it leaves a lot to be desired. Obviously, you couldn't instyill such a thing on a political level. I just don't see how else you could though, or how they could be decided and enforced or whatever.
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WheelsOfConfusion



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PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2006 10:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The major difference is one of usage. They're almost always synonymous. "Ethics," though, is also used as the term for the formal Philosophical study of right and wrong and good and bad and all that. Morality in that usage would refer specifically to the concept of things being good and evil.
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Celaeno



Joined: 09 Jul 2006
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2006 10:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I tend to use "morals" and "ethics" interchangeably. Some people differentiate the two, but none of my professors and few of the philosophers I've read have. --edit: Wheels beat me to it.--

I'd agree with Major Tom. For example, the Constitution guards basic rights. It doesn't have much to do with how ordinary people should interact with one another on a day to day level, but that doesn't mean that there's no ethical way to do it.

Why does religion have to have anything to do with an ethical code? We all have personal beliefs regarding the "right" way to act regardless of our religions.
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Major Tom



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PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2006 11:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

if my take on it is anywhere near passable, religion doesn't have anything to do with ethics, except through one of two backdoors:

1) via personal belief
2) by way of common synonymous entanglement with "morality"
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mouse



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PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2006 11:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i like wheels' definition - right and wrong vs. good and evil. they aren't orthogonal, though.

i think morals tend to be promoted via religion because for most of history, over most of the world, religion had (and still often has) a major role in setting standards of behavior. people who can't read or write, and who certainly never studied philosophy, still went to church or temple or whatever, heard the religious law laid down, and were expected to act in accordance with same. but laws or just a published code of ethics (which some businesses have) will do the same. you just need to make it clear to everyone what you expect.

....well, theoretically that's all you have to do.
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Lasairfiona



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PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2006 1:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It seems ya'll are defining morals as a personal thing when stating it differently is more correct: Ethics are a society's system of accepted thoughts and behaviors or those that are accepted. Truely there isn't much of a difference between "morals" and "ethics" in usage outside the classroom but ethics is considered to be the broader term. In other words, "ethics" usually includes "morals" though it isn't the other way around (again, usage varies). Both have to do with "right and wrong" actions/thoughts/etc and they are defined by the society/culture and do not have to be written down. When a system meant to guide is put down or formalized into "law," it becomes a code which is included in "ethics."
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jsimpleton



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PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2006 1:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

morals and ethics are pretty much the same things. and if you want to know if an action is moral, you have to tell me which moral theory you want me to apply (there are many, which is probably why people can't agree on what is right and wrong).

I don't want to get into a history lesson here, but some people have been trying to set a moral guideline since aristotle's time (maybe even before, but its had to find evidence dating that far back). To my knowledge, people are still trying to find one that everyone will accept. My advice is to figure out what you think is morally good and bad.
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kame



Joined: 11 Jul 2006
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2006 1:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

pre-socratic philosophy... ask a sophist
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Sam



Joined: 09 Jul 2006
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2006 1:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you're analyzing or employing moral concepts (Usually "good" "evil" "responsibility" "right" "wrong" etc etc), ..

That's ethics.

There's a lot of logic and analytic premise and exacting language and required reading involved with the classes of the same name, and I'm finding that out pretty much right now!
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Major Tom



Joined: 09 Jul 2006
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2006 2:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lasairfiona wrote:
It seems ya'll are defining morals as a personal thing when stating it differently is more correct: Ethics are a society's system of accepted thoughts and behaviors or those that are accepted. Truely there isn't much of a difference between "morals" and "ethics" in usage outside the classroom but ethics is considered to be the broader term. In other words, "ethics" usually includes "morals" though it isn't the other way around (again, usage varies). Both have to do with "right and wrong" actions/thoughts/etc and they are defined by the society/culture and do not have to be written down. When a system meant to guide is put down or formalized into "law," it becomes a code which is included in "ethics."


it seems y'all just muddled about without adding or clarifying.

nice countryfication, though.
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Desire



Joined: 09 Jul 2006
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2006 5:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So basically, it would be pretty impossible to have a code of ethics on a national scale? Because everyone is too different.


And thank you for all the responses, i appreciate it.
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