Morality v Ethics


Of Morality

Morals are quite simply a code of conduct; a series of proscriptions and prescriptions that define goodness. Though, within the mindset of a specific culture their own code is seen to be universal in nature, applying to all cultures with equal force; the reality is that moral codes vary between cultures, within sub-cultures and over time in even the most static of cultures.

Codes of conduct are regarded as necessity to ensure the purity and sanctity of the group as in most cases the code was laid down by either a deity or a revered ancestor. Thus violation of the code becomes not just a mistake, but an affront to the code giver and the society as a whole. This violation of the society is what justifies a societal response, and what justifies even the harshest of punishments for offenders.

This is also why the code is upheld even if the effect is contrary to the cultures self-professed ideals. For instance prohibitions against adultery were ostensibly to promote family unity; yet the execution of an adulterous wife destroys the family the rule was designed to support. In practice, morality becomes the loyalty test to the culture. The concept of morality demands the concept of sin; the violation of the code of conduct. Thou the violation might be as small as not wearing the right type of fabric in ones clothing, the underlying sin is the disloyalty to the culture and that justifies the punishment.


Of Ethics

Ethics is also a code, but not of conduct, but of values. It may come in the form of apriori posits of what is good, or a methodology of determining what is good, but in either case ethics is about the identifying what is good and how one might promote that good. It is not a list or code of things proscribed or prescribed, it is a way of assessing.

Assessing what it means to be good in ever changing and or novel circumstances. Ethics presupposes that each new action requires the individual to measure its impact on the ultimate goal of good. Thus, ethics is fluid and dynamic, resisting external judgment of righteousness in that only the individual know why a thing was done thus.

In ethics there is not the concept of sin but in ethics both the process and the end goal must conform to the values espoused. The concepts of “falling short” or “failing to account for unintended consequences” are used when the results are incompatible with the goal. To expect people to behave ethically sets a very high bar because both the means and motive of good for all concerned are measured.


Morality v Ethics

When comparing morality and ethics in practice, one might naively say that morality is the high-road of conduct: to subject one’s will to the will of God. This conclusion would be false. For one’s behavior is much easier to tame than one’s self-serving nature. As any good lawyer knows, any legal code can be manipulated to serve self gratifying ends; but an ethical life must first ask about motive before means is chosen. Thus a moral person can work against the greater good while, by definition only an unethical person may do the same.

So The Rev. Polyamory generally endorsees ethics over rules based morality as way of life!

So would that be amoral ethicality?

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