Ethics vs Morals – UPSC Ethics

Generally, the terms ethics and morality are used interchangeably. Both morality and ethics loosely have to do with distinguishing the difference between “good and bad” or “right and wrong.” Many people think of morality as something that’s personal and normative, whereas ethics is the standards of “good and bad” distinguished by a certain community or social setting.
Ethics
Morals
What are they?
The rules of conduct recognized in respect to a particular class of human actions or a particular group or culture.
Principles or habits with respect to right or wrong conduct. While morals also prescribe dos and don’ts, morality is ultimately a personal compass of right and wrong.
Where do they come from?
Social system – External
Individual – Internal
Why we do it?
Because society says it is the right thing to do.
Because we believe in something being right or wrong.
Flexibility
Ethics are dependent on others for definition. They tend to be consistent within a certain context, but can vary between contexts.
Usually consistent, although can change if an individual’s beliefs change.
The “Gray”
A person strictly following Ethical Principles may not have any Morals at all. Likewise, one could violate Ethical Principles within a given system of rules in order to maintain Moral integrity.
A Moral Person although perhaps bound by a higher covenant, may choose to follow a code of ethics as it would apply to a system. “Make it fit”
Origin
Greek word “ethos” meaning “character”
Latin word “mos” meaning “custom”
Acceptability
Ethics are governed by professional and legal guidelines within a particular time and place
Morality transcends cultural norms