Ethics is a branch of Philosophy that “involves systematizing, defending, and recommending concepts of right and wrong behavior”.

What is right or wrong?

Difference with Morality?

Philosophers don’t make a distinction. But usually, ethics is profession-specific. Whereas morals are very personal (own personal sense of right or wrong).

“Morals refer mainly to guiding principles, while ethics refer to specific rules and actions, or behaviors.”

Example: A lawyer is asked to defend a person. Lawyer finds out that the person is a criminal. Lawyer’s morals will tell him not to defend such a person, but the ethics of his profession tell him that he must properly do his job of defending his client.

From a philosopher’s perspective, ethics is the critical reflection of Morality. It is very theoretical, whereas morality is practical: it gives us rules for everyday life (ex: don’t steal).

In ECR, we learned three types of ethics:

These video series by UTexas are very good:


Moral Philosophy

From Moral philosophy is the branch of philosophy that contemplates what is right and wrong. It explores the nature of morality and examines how people should live their lives in relation to others.

Moral philosophy has three branches:

  1. Meta-Ethics (“What is morality?” “What is justice?” “Is there truth?“)
  2. Normative Ethics (“What we ought to do”)
  3. Applied Ethics (addresses specific, practical issues of moral importance such as War and Capital Punishment)

Ethics in the Workplace from PD20

This is really interesting stuff.

What do you focus on when you criticize someone for doing something wrong or praise someone for doing something morally praiseworthy?

The answer you give depends on what ethical theory you regard as true. There are many ethical theories, and each on focuses on a different aspect of the good life.

Here are the ones I’ve learned