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Author Topic:   The Difference Between Ethical And Moral?
Minnemooseus
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Posts: 3708
From: Duluth, Minnesota, U.S. (West end of Lake Superior)
Joined: 11-11-2001
Member Rating: 4.3


Message 16 of 30 (585745)
10-09-2010 3:02 PM


Unethical but moral
I think there are situations where an act can be both highly unethical and also highly moral.

The first example I will call the Robin Hood syndrome - Steal from the rich to give to the poor. A manager steals from a filthy rich client and gives the theft to poor and maybe even starving people.

The second example - Client confidentiality issues. A psychologist or priest hears a confession from a man, that he is a serial rapist. The psychologist or priest tips off the police about this man.

Both cases, IMO, highly unethical but highly moral.

Moose

Added by edit, concerning the second example: I do not think the tip off should be the basis for an arrest and prosecution. The tipper should not be a formal witness for the prosecution, and I suspect that a such derived confession would be rejected by the court. It could, however, be useful in leading to further investigation that could result in an arrest and prosecution.

Edited by Minnemooseus, : See above.


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Dr Adequate
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Posts: 16086
Joined: 07-20-2006
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Message 17 of 30 (585753)
10-09-2010 3:44 PM
Reply to: Message 16 by Minnemooseus
10-09-2010 3:02 PM


Re: Unethical but moral
The second example - Client confidentiality issues. A psychologist or priest hears a confession from a man, that he is a serial rapist. The psychologist or priest tips off the police about this man.

I think the psychiatrist is actually supposed to do that.

(I also think that you probably mean "psychiatrist". A psychiatrist is a doctor who treats patients with mental health problems; a psychologist is a scientist who studies or applies psychology --- though admittedly this application can sometimes be intended as therapeutic in nature.)

Both cases, IMO, highly unethical but highly moral.

Contrary to professional ethics. But if the people in question said in their defense that they were "acting according to a higher code of ethics", then you would understand exactly what they meant, wouldn't you?


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nwr
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Posts: 5585
From: Geneva, Illinois
Joined: 08-08-2005


Message 18 of 30 (585762)
10-09-2010 4:17 PM
Reply to: Message 14 by seanfhear
10-09-2010 2:34 PM


seanfhear writes:
Would you say usage depends on context then or is there more to it?

I think it mostly has to do with our experience in hearing these words. And religion mainly uses "moral" while professions mainly use "ethical."

I am not seeing a big difference in how the two words could be used. The difference is in how they are used.


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onifre
Member (Idle past 1030 days)
Posts: 4854
From: Dark Side of the Moon
Joined: 02-20-2008


Message 19 of 30 (585763)
10-09-2010 4:24 PM
Reply to: Message 17 by Dr Adequate
10-09-2010 3:44 PM


Re: Unethical but moral
I think the psychiatrist is actually supposed to do that.

In Florida it's called the Baker Act - when you're a threat to yourself or someone else. Family can get it done, but it's mostly done by a mental health professional.

- Oni


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Minnemooseus
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From: Duluth, Minnesota, U.S. (West end of Lake Superior)
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Message 20 of 30 (585764)
10-09-2010 4:27 PM
Reply to: Message 17 by Dr Adequate
10-09-2010 3:44 PM


Re: Unethical but moral
Psychologist vs. psychiatrist - Yes, I knew which is the medical doctor and I did mean to use psychiatrist. The brain said psychiatrist and the fingers typed psychologist. D'oh.

Contrary to professional ethics. But if the people in question said in their defense that they were "acting according to a higher code of ethics", then you would understand exactly what they meant, wouldn't you?

I would call it moral considerations overriding professional ethics. Maybe that's a definition for "higher code of ethics".

I cited a serial rapist as being an extreme criminal offender. Certainly, a very minor criminal offense doesn't justify overriding professional ethics. Where the minor/serious enough dividing line falls is a gray area.

Moose

Edited by Minnemooseus, : Was it a typo or was it a misspelling? I'm calling it a typo.


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Omnivorous
Member (Idle past 1047 days)
Posts: 3808
From: Adirondackia
Joined: 07-21-2005


Message 21 of 30 (585765)
10-09-2010 4:31 PM
Reply to: Message 18 by nwr
10-09-2010 4:17 PM


There may be generational differences as well.

Many years ago, I was part of a high school student panel--Teenage Morality Today--that convened before a large Parent-Teachers Association conference.

All the audience wanted to talk about was sex; we wanted to talk about war, poverty and racism.


Dost thou prate, rogue?
-Cassio

Real things always push back.
-William James


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Tram law
Member (Idle past 2784 days)
Posts: 283
From: Weed, California, USA
Joined: 08-15-2010


Message 22 of 30 (585813)
10-09-2010 9:22 PM
Reply to: Message 8 by seanfhear
10-09-2010 2:06 PM


Interchanging The Words
Well, I don't really understand the difference between the two, and at least to me they do seem so similar that they can be interchangeable.
This message is a reply to:
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Tram law
Member (Idle past 2784 days)
Posts: 283
From: Weed, California, USA
Joined: 08-15-2010


Message 23 of 30 (585814)
10-09-2010 9:25 PM
Reply to: Message 5 by ringo
10-09-2010 1:45 PM


Society's rules?

I'd say that one difference between ethics and morality is that morality is individual while ethics tend to be collective.

Well, so would ethics be applicable only to business or groups such as scientific and medical? Because collective is somewhat vague because it also brings to my mind social rules and etiquettte. Would those also be considered more ethical rather than moral if ethical is limited to business and other similar groups?


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ringo
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From: frozen wasteland
Joined: 03-23-2005
Member Rating: 2.0


Message 24 of 30 (585818)
10-09-2010 10:01 PM
Reply to: Message 23 by Tram law
10-09-2010 9:25 PM


Re: Society's rules?
Tram law writes:

Well, so would ethics be applicable only to business or groups such as scientific and medical? Because collective is somewhat vague because it also brings to my mind social rules and etiquettte. Would those also be considered more ethical rather than moral if ethical is limited to business and other similar groups?


As I said, it's a distinction that I find useful. Etiquette, ethics and laws are different levels of regulation placed on the members of a group. It's rude for me to gossip about my neighbours but I wouldn't say it was unethical. It's unethical for professionals to disclose private legal or medical information and in some cases it may be illegal too. But none of those things is necessarily immoral.


"It appears that many of you turn to Hebrew to escape the English...." -- Joseppi
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seanfhear
Junior Member (Idle past 2672 days)
Posts: 23
From: California
Joined: 09-28-2010


Message 25 of 30 (585823)
10-09-2010 10:43 PM
Reply to: Message 22 by Tram law
10-09-2010 9:22 PM


Re: Interchanging The Words
Tram writes:

Well, I don't really understand the difference between the two, and at least to me they do seem so similar that they can be interchangeable.


Tram, the interesting thing about this forum is that itís made up of mostly very intelligent people. Thatís very refreshing on an internet forum. I think I know something about a subject posted here and usually find that I didnít know much at all or there are things I hadnít thought about. A very good learning experience. Iíve positively gained from my short time on the forum.
As far as morality and ethics it seems they both have similarities and differences.

Edited by seanfhear, : left a word out


"Anyone who has the power to make you believe absurdities has the power to make you commit injustices."
Voltaire
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Phage0070
Inactive Member


Message 26 of 30 (585929)
10-10-2010 3:42 PM
Reply to: Message 15 by Dr Adequate
10-09-2010 2:54 PM


Dr Adequate writes:

True, but that's a matter of connotation.

One could say that the entirety of language is a matter of connotation.


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 Message 15 by Dr Adequate, posted 10-09-2010 2:54 PM Dr Adequate has responded

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Dr Adequate
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Posts: 16086
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 10.0


Message 27 of 30 (585932)
10-10-2010 4:00 PM
Reply to: Message 26 by Phage0070
10-10-2010 3:42 PM


One could say that the entirety of language is a matter of connotation.

Then what would "denotation" mean?


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jar
Member
Posts: 30934
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004


Message 28 of 30 (585935)
10-10-2010 4:05 PM
Reply to: Message 27 by Dr Adequate
10-10-2010 4:00 PM


Pointing out the Connotation?


Anyone so limited that they can only spell a word one way is severely handicapped!
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Phage0070
Inactive Member


Message 29 of 30 (585937)
10-10-2010 4:08 PM
Reply to: Message 27 by Dr Adequate
10-10-2010 4:00 PM


Dr Adequate writes:

Then what would "denotation" mean?

What do you mean by that?


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Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 16086
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 10.0


Message 30 of 30 (585942)
10-10-2010 4:27 PM
Reply to: Message 29 by Phage0070
10-10-2010 4:08 PM


What do you mean by that?

On the off-chance that you're not joking ...

Denotation refers to the meaning of the word in the sense of the criterion for using it accurately; connotation refers to the penumbra of implied meanings of the word.

For example, if it is accurate to call someone a German, it is equally accurate to call him a Kraut, since the two words denote exactly the same set of people. However, the latter word connotes hostility, which the former does not.


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