Compare Ethics and Morality

Compare the concepts of ethics and morality

Both morality and ethics apparently have been a difficult term for people distinguish as, either separate, or similar terms, for millennia. Apparently Aristotle had a difficult time with it although he was able to write books about it. Looking at some of the things he did say about ethics do provide some insight. Ethics comes from virtue while virtue comes from the soul. But then, I never see a description where the soul gets virtue or ethics. (Kraut) “he describes the virtues of the part of the soul that is rational in that it can be attentive to reason, even though it is not capable of deliberating. But precisely because these virtues are rational only in this derivative way, they are a less important component of our ultimate end than is the intellectual virtue—practical wisdom—with which they are integrated.” Practical wisdom is what is in the soul, therefore ethics comes from the soul.

Morality is an existing code of conduct put forth by society according to (Gert) “To take “morality” to refer to an actually existing code of conduct put forward by a society results in a denial that there is a universal morality, one that applies to all human beings.” (p 1) I think this definition really does apply, because God put forth in the fifth commandment “Thou shall not murder.” While Allah says thou may murder if someone does not agree with you. (Baqri) “Strike off their heads, strike off very tips of their fingers. (8:12) Gert goes on the mention that morality is more inclusive (Gert) “Most societies have moralities that contain all three of the above features; most societies also claim that morality has all three of the above foundations, religion, tradition, and rational human nature.” So basically morality comes from several places, God or Allah, tradition and human nature.

The writers of the Declaration of Independence claim that Morality comes from Natures God (Declaration) “…the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them…” I believe these two paragraphs are the most accurate definition of morality, because it allows one to think for themselves. It allows one to choose for themselves, then “we will be judged by god when we meet him.”


Kraut, Richard, “Aristotle’s Ethics”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2012 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), forthcoming URL = <>.

Gert, Bernard, “The Definition of Morality”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2011 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <>.

Baqri, Syed Mohamed Zaki. Holy Qur’an. The counsel on of Islamic Guidance (1986) Tahirke Tarsile Qur’an Inc. Elmhurst, New York

Declaration of Independence.

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