Difference Between Ethics and Morality – Ethics vs Morals

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 14th, 2023

The fundamental difference between ethics and morality is essential to comprehend completely understand the fundamental concepts of ethics and morality. Ethics is a type of moral philosophy that “involves defending, systemizing and suggesting fundamentals of right and wrong behaviour”. The difference between ethics and morality is that ethics is a set of doctrines weighing the actions of humans to be right or wrong based on moral principles. Morality is an array of principles associated with the perspective of an individual.

Difference Between Ethics and Morality PDF

Morality is a set standard of principles on a personal level that highlights the differentiation of intentions, actions, and decisions between right and wrong and between proper and improper. Morals are principles derived from a higher code of conduct, especially from religion, communities, and cultures. There is numerous difference between ethics and morality which will be discussed further in this article.

Difference Between Ethics and Morality

The major difference between Morality and Ethics is that morality is associated with the individual’s perception, while ethics are regulated by professional guidelines. A brief overview of the major ways in which ethics and morality differ is illustrated in the table.

Ethics vs Morals

Difference Between Ethics and Morality

SL. No.




Aristotle coined the word “ethics,” which originated from the Greek word “Ethos,” which means character.

Morality has been procured from the Latin word “Mos,” which means custom.


Professional guidelines and legal rules govern ethics.

The adherence to ethics is determined within a specific time frame and space.

Morality transcends societal norms and regulations.

The idea of morality is way more personal though defined by society at large.


A prism of communities, industries, and professions defines the parameters of ethics.

Morality is judged and seen from an individual’s perspective.


The parameters of ethics are not the same everywhere.

It differs in different industries and professions.

Only a transformation in an individual’s beliefs may change one’s morality.


Ethics are obliged since society has decided it to be a specific and righteous course of action.

Morality is developed when a person decides a certain thing as the right course of action or decision.


An ethical person may not have a definite set of moral principles.

An individual may not exercise any moral values yet be ethical at his workplace.

Sometimes there may emerge a situation when ethics are violated since the morality of an individual debars him from doing a certain thing or obliging to a certain code of conduct.


Ethics are independent of any religious connotations.

It is usually associated with various professional fields, such as business, law, and medicine.

Morality often has strong religious.

Ethics and Morality

Ethics is a unit of philosophy that involves organizing, protecting, and advising notions of right and wrong conduct. Morality can be a body of criteria or principles derived from a code of behaviour from a distinct philosophy, faith, or civilization. The meaning of Ethics and Morality and the significant difference between Ethics and Morality are explained briefly below.

Ethics vs Morality UPSC

Ethics vs Morality UPSC questions are asked in the General Studies Paper IV for the UPSC Mains exam. Candidates can learn the strategy for handling the paper, which deals with Ethics and Integrity. Students must cover topics related to the difference between ethics and morality, ethics vs morals differentiation factors, their definitions and examples.

Aspirants can go through the GS Paper 4 Previous Year Questions to formulate a competent approach for answering the questions in the exam.

What are Ethics?

The set of doctrines weighs human action based on the principles of moral philosophy. Ethics is prominent in the professional sphere and organizations. The ethics in two different workspaces can share striking and remarkable differences.

  • Ethics are not related or associated with any religious connotations.
  • Ethics is further segregated into three segments Metaethics, Normative Ethics, and Applied Ethics.
  • It is prevalent and consistently advocates the human to take the right decisions.

What is Morality?

The literal meaning of morality is derived from the word “Mos”, meaning custom. The concept of morality is associated with an individual’s perception; it is not regulated by the norms of society and the defined regulations.

  • It influences individuals to take the right decisions.
  • It has a strong association with religious connotations.


Key Difference Between Ethics and Morality

The key Difference Between Ethics and Morality is that Ethics does not have a religious intent, whereas Morality has a religious purpose. Ethics are obeyed because the community makes it the correct path of action, while Morality is obeyed since an individual feels it is the correct path of action.

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