Maarten Maartensz:    Philosophical Dictionary | Filosofisch Woordenboek                      

 M - Morals


Morals: System of ideas, rules, instructions and practices that concern how the members of a certain group should behave.

It should be noted, to start with, that it makes a lot of sense to distinguish between morals, as defined, that concerns behavior, and ethics, that is more abstract, and concerns ends and addresses the topics of good and bad. And indeed, most of the ethics most men profess, are not so much ethical theories, but moral rules and practices current in their own group or society. Also, there is at least in English a convenient distinction: If ethics is concerned with the theoretical questions of good and bad and with the ends of a society or a person, then morals is concerned with behavior and what is right and wrong to do.

Thus, morals, as defined, is concerned with more practical matters and behavior than ethics is, and those who want to reason about it should be aware that there are a number of real and practical features of moral norms that collectively imply that in moral matters things are usually not quite as they are claimed to be, for sound if 'human-all-too-human' reasons.


See also: Ethics, Features of moral norms, Harm, Misery


Goffman, Kohlberg, Laqueur Ed., Oksenberg

 Original: Aug 24, 2004                                                Last edited: 12 December 2011.   Top