Moral and Ethical

Definition of Moral and Ethical

Moral behavior is when we do things that match up with what we think is right or wrong. Imagine you think it’s important to care about everyone getting a chance to eat. If you have a sandwich and you give half to someone who doesn’t have any food, that is you being moral because you acted on your idea of caring for others. Ethical behavior, on the other hand, uses a set of rules made by our communities, jobs, or groups to guide everyone on what is right or wrong. If you’re a journalist, for example, and you promise to keep someone’s secret while reporting a story, sticking to that promise is ethical. This is because you’re following a rule set by your job, not just what you personally believe.

To make it simpler: Morals are your personal ideas of right and wrong, like when you help someone you see struggling because it just feels like the right thing to do. Ethics are like instructions we all agree to follow so that everyone acts in a way that is good and responsible, like when a school has rules that tell students not to cheat on homework.

Types of Moral and Ethical Approaches

People have come up with different ways to think about what’s right and what’s wrong. Here are a few:

  • Consequentialism: This is looking ahead to what will happen because of what we do. If something you do makes a lot of people happy, that might make it a good choice.
  • Deontology: This is about following rules no matter what, believing that some actions are always right and others always wrong. It’s about doing the right thing, even if sometimes it doesn’t make everything perfect right away.
  • Virtue ethics: This one pays attention to what kind of a person you are, like being kind or brave. If you make choices that show you’re a good person, those choices are seen as the right ones to make.

Examples of Moral and Ethical

Seeing examples from real life can help us understand what morals and ethics are:

  • Moral: Giving some of your lunch to a friend who didn’t bring one. You do this because you believe it’s generous and nice to share with others. That’s your personal rule for doing the right thing.
  • Ethical: When a teacher makes sure all students are treated the same, giving fair grades to everyone’s work. This follows the school’s guidelines that say students should be treated equally, which is an ethical standard set by the school.
  • Moral: Saying sorry to your sibling for breaking their toy by accident because you believe you should own up when you make a mistake. This is about your own view of being responsible.
  • Ethical: When a shop owner reports all the money they made to pay taxes. They’re following the law that says you should report everything, even if they could have kept some money secret.
  • Moral: Helping a hurt animal on the road because you believe in showing kindness to every living thing. Your actions are based on your personal belief that caring for creatures is a good thing to do.

Why is it Important?

Morals and ethics are super important for a few really big reasons. They are like the glue that keeps society together. With everyone having a sense of morals and ethics, we can live together without too much trouble. It means we know how to treat people nicely, which helps everyone trust each other and feel like they belong to a community. If we didn’t have these ideas to guide us, things would be really wild and we wouldn’t feel safe. They aren’t just rules; they help us decide how to be good friends and neighbors and how to work together even when things get tough.


People haven’t always talked about morals and ethics the way we do now. A long time ago, as humans started living together in big groups, thinkers and philosophers began questioning what’s right and what’s wrong. They put a lot of thought into why we do things and that’s how we got to where we are now, still talking about the ideas they started pondering thousands of years ago.


Even though morals and ethics are really helpful for figuring out life, not everybody sees eye to eye on what they mean or how we should use them. We’re all different, and our lives are complicated, so we often have big debates:

  • Some folks think morals are set in stone and don’t change over time while others believe that the situation we’re in can make a big difference in deciding what’s right.
  • There’s lots of talk about whether we’re born knowing how to be ethical, if we learn it from the world around us, or if it’s something we get from our beliefs and religion.
  • And a big debate right now is about animals and whether they should have the same moral rights as people. That affects everything from how we treat them as pets to how they’re used in science.

Related Topics

When we talk about morals and ethics, there are other subjects that are pretty similar and just as interesting:

  • Business ethics: This looks at right and wrong in the business world, like how companies should take care of their workers, their customers, and our planet.
  • Legal ethics: People like lawyers and judges follow special rules to make sure everyone is treated fairly by the laws and the courts.
  • Biomedical ethics: In medicine, these ethics help doctors and scientists make hard choices that can really change or even save people’s lives.
  • Social ethics: This is about how we all should act together, doing things like recycling or voting to make sure we’re looking out for everyone’s good.


To wrap it all up, morals and ethics are the guideposts that help us tell right from wrong. Your morals are what you believe deep down is the right way to go, and your ethics are the good behavior everybody agrees on. When we understand these ideas, they help us build a world that’s fair, just, and peaceful. They make sure people can do their jobs with honesty, our friends and family can count on us, and that everyone in our neighborhoods or cities can get along. Talking about these ideas, debating them, and always trying to make them better helps us grow as people and as a big human family.