Subject: Re: ethics of business
From: (Rob Warnock)
Date: Fri, 25 Jul 2003 05:22:09 -0500
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp
Message-ID: <>
Kent M Pitman  <> wrote:
| Thomas Stegen <> writes:
| > Moral is based on ethics, not the other way around. I know what you mean
| > though and this is more a FYI post than anything else :)
| I haven't been following the discussion, but this statement in
| isolation does not resonate with my own terminology.
| Just as laws are built up from jurisdictions (federal -> state ->
| local/city -> household), I think what I'll hear call meta-morality
| for want of a better word [there probably is one, I just don't know
| it] is build up from a similar cascade of sources.  Plainly, that
| which is elected by a person (which is what I call "ethics") is based
| upon that which is elected by God/Universe (which is what I call
| "morality" and is given by religion).

Well, the definitions of or distinctions between these terms that I have
always used (well, for long enough that I can't remember when or where I
first heard them) don't require the introduction of religion at all:

	Ethics are the rules that a person imposes on him/herself
	for the sake of the health/well-being of society.

	Morals are the rules that a society imposes on itself
	for the sake of the health/well-being of its members.

That is, to a first approximation, unethical behavior hurts the fabric
of society (e.g., unethical business practices), while immoral behavior
hurts other people (telling lies about someone, for example).

Yes, there's overlap; the two are not totally disjoint. But I've found
the above to be useful approximations.


Rob Warnock, PP-ASEL-IA		<>
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