What's on my mind.

18 January 2008

Morally Ok? Ethically Ok?

To me the difference between morals and ethics is that morals apply to all aspects of life and ethics are more specific. Ethics are often rules that apply to one's profession that may or may not apply outside of it. This can mean that something ethical may not be moral and vice versa.

A lawyer has to behave ethically as defined by the state bar association but he does not have to behave morally. A doctor may do some thing that is morally correct but if it violates the medical board's ethics standards, she may be punished. Some professional organizations, like licensure boards, do require that members be "moral upright" members of society but that's vague and probably difficult to enforce. The ethical standards of a profession are, on the other hand, often spelled out and enforced.

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