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What are the differences between morals and ethics? Are morals standards of behaviour that everybody in a certain group can agree on or is that an ethical code of behaviour? To the Vikings doing the 'right' thing might have been participating in the tradition of finding other villages and ransacking and stealing. This was part of their ethical code of behaviour. Could it be said to be immoral or amoral?

marked as duplicate by stoicfury Mar 31 '15 at 3:08

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    You could define "ethics" as "thinking about moral" and "moral" as "rules, you consider to be the right ones". Given that I don't really get the passage about vikings. – Einer Sep 15 '14 at 8:55
  • The Vikings had their own culturally set-up 'traditional' STANDARDS of behaviour , their own rules of behaviour that they considered right and proper RELATIVE to their culture and societal 'norms'. WE today would consider these rules of behavior of the Vikings criminal RELATIVE to our society. So what the Vikings considered as doing the 'right' thing relative to their points of view in many situations was not what we today would say is doing the right thing. So the phrase doing the 'right thing' can be relative or ambiguous. – user128932 Sep 16 '14 at 5:25
  • So this is about moral relativism versus moral realism? – Einer Sep 16 '14 at 7:42
  • One of my point's is that the phrase {Do the 'right thing'..} doesn't really say anything. Since Ethical rules can be relative to the culture or society 'involved'. – user128932 Sep 16 '14 at 18:07
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    You are right in thinking that "Do the right thing" is utterly hollow. It is settled (by definition) that moral rules can vary with culture, since 'moral' doesn't really say more than 'what is considered to be right in a culture'. 'Ethics' however is thinking about moral. It is not settled, that the result of this thinking is, that every moral is equally right. That is why I posted you the links. I hoped, that would help you formulating the question. Honestly I still don't get the passage with the Vikings. – Einer Oct 6 '14 at 21:15
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Ethics deal with a set of rules governing conduct that a group of people have agreed upon, while morals deal with an individual's sense of right and wrong. They are intertwined in that each may inherit from the other. However, one may have a "moral dilemma" when their own sense of morals is at conflict with the ethics of their group.

For example, let's say you are a cashier at a grocery store. You agreed at your hiring not to let customers steal. The act of doing that, therefore, is unethical. However, you notice a homeless family wander in and the children are hungry. They take a loaf of bread and some milk and leave without paying. You believe it would be immoral not to let them have the food they need. Your sense of morals and ethics are now at a direct conflict.

  • Could you also say in your thought experiment above , 'You believe it would be unethical not to let them have the food they need.' – user128932 Nov 28 '14 at 6:33
  • I could say "I believe it should be unethical not to let them have the food they need." In this case, letting someone steal from your place of employment is unethical via company policy. It is, therefore, technically ethical to stop them from having the food they need, while at the same time immoral to do so. This is a moral dilemma. – wildBillMunson Nov 28 '14 at 14:47

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