Values

  • Values are our fundamental beliefs. They are the principles we use to define that which is right, good and just.
  • Values provide guidance to determine the right versus the wrong, the good versus the bad.
  • They are our standards.
  • When we evaluate anything we compare it to a standard.
  • Typical values include: honesty, integrity, compassion, courage, honor, responsibility, patriotism, respect and fairness.
  • Ethics are universal

Morals

  • Morals are values which we attribute to a system of beliefs, typically a religious system, but it could be a political system of some other set of beliefs.
  • These values get their authority from outside the individual– a higher being or higher authority (e.g. society).
  • By this definition, one could categorize the values like honesty, integrity, compassion as “moral values” – values derived from a higher authority.

Ethics

  • Ethics is about our actions and decisions.
  • When one acts in ways that are consistent with our beliefs (whether secular or derived from a moral authority) we characterize that as acting ethically.
  • When one’s actions are not congruent with our values – our sense of right, good and just – we view that as acting unethically.
  • The ethics of our decisions and actions is defined socially, not individually.
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