Difference Between Ethics and Ethos & Their Similarities


The two terms, being linguistically similar, are often used by several ethicists in the same meaning. Ethics is a philosophical branch that draws out a line of distinction between right and wrong behavior. On the other hand, Ethos is ideal for any group, society, culture, nation, or community; it brings unity.

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What is the Difference Between Ethics and Ethos?

About Ethics

Ethics also termed as moral philosophy, look forward to resolving questions. These questions revolve around several important concepts of human behaviors, like what is good or evil, or definitions of virtue, vice or justice, and crime.

Ethics constitute three major study areas. There is meta-ethics, which is mainly concerned with theories and references of morality; normative ethics is linked with practically determining morality’s value. Applied ethics is concerned with what a person is obligated to do.

About Ethos

Originating from a Greek word, Ethos means character. This word describes the ideals and beliefs which harmonize any group, be it a nation or a community. In ancient times, the Greeks used the word ‘ethos’ to denote musical power.

The term ethos is applied to explain the values that are fundamental to a person. Ethos was first used by Aristotle when he described the personality of a man. He described it as a combination of caution and passion.

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Difference Between Ethics And Ethos

Ground Of Difference Ethics Ethos
Definition Denotes a system of values on which an institution is based.
It is a constituent of moral philosophy.
Ethos is a quality that brings harmony to a group.
It helps in distinguishing one character or sentiment from the other.
Originating Word Derived from the word Ethikos, which has a Greek origin. Ethos itself forms the root word of Ethikos.
Nature Has a universal outlook More customized nature as it can show the identity of people.
Use It provides a general guideline for a society or person. It sets principles. The beliefs and attitudes of a person or institution or society are depicted.

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Similarity Between Ethics And Ethos

  • Ethos is a term that is related to ethics.
  • Both ethics and Ethos are related to the personal opinions of an individual.
  • Both the words belong to the same linguistic family.
  • Both the terms ethos and ethics have been derived from Greek words. The correct use of ethics by a person determines.
  • Both these terms have their source in the mind of a person with good intentions.
  • Both ethics and Ethos help an individual to make wise decisions.
  • Every individual desires both Ethos and ethics.
  • Both the qualities of Ethos and Ethics help society to be a better place to live in.

Frequently Asked Questions on Difference Between Ethics and Ethos

What is the need for ethics and Ethos?

Any person who possesses good ethics and Ethos makes society a better place. They help the disadvantaged people and those who belong to the marginalized section. By having these two qualities, we become more compassionate towards the needs of other people.

What categorization can Ethos be put to?

Aristotle, who first conceptualized the term, gave three categories of Ethos. The first is Phronesis, which is linked with wisdom and skills, the second is Arete, connected to goodwill and virtue, and the third is Eunoia, which is directed towards the audience.

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