37 examples of ethics and morals

Ethics is the study of moral principles, while moral is a system of principles that dictate what good or bad social behavior should be. In other words, morality is a kind of guide to the norms of behavior to be followed, while ethics is the study of those norms.

There are many examples of ethical and moral principles in our daily lives. Here is a list of some of them.

Examples of ethical principles

Ethical principles are based on ideals of conduct and are important because they allow us to live in society more harmoniously. These are some of the most important principles to live better:

1. Respect

Respect is the consideration we have for others, regardless of their condition, age, gender or way of thinking. Respecting others is acknowledging their existence and valuing their humanity. Therefore, respect is one of the fundamental ethical principles for social coexistence.

When we treat our parents with consideration, when we help our siblings or colleagues, we are acting with respect.

2. Justice

Justice is an ethical principle that applies to treating all people equally, giving each one what is due. From the point of view of law, justice establishes a legal framework that serves as a reference to establish harmonious and balanced relationships between the members of a society.

When one person hurts another and is punished according to the legal norms, justice is being done.

3. Honesty

The principle of honesty requires acting righteously. An honest person says and does the right thing because it is the right thing to do and because, in addition, he is considering the common good above his own.

An example of honesty is giving the wallet back to someone who dropped it on the street.

4. Tolerance

Tolerance is respect for ideas, opinions and beliefs that are contrary to or different from ours. Tolerance does not imply agreeing, but understanding that each person has the right to express their convictions.

For example, in the same family they can support different political movements, and if tolerance prevails, that should not affect the relationships between its members.

5. Responsibility

Acting responsibly is taking responsibility for the consequences of our actions. By doing something that brings us a positive result, it is very easy for us to stand up and take the credit. But when our actions are not correct, it can be difficult to recognize and bear the consequences.

For example, when a student does not prepare for an exam and is failed, they have to assume the consequences that this action implies (repeat the exam, repeat the semester, etc.).

6. Truth

The truth is the relationship that exists between what is expressed and the reality of the facts. Truth is the basis of solid interpersonal and social relationships and is an essential ethical principle in a society that aspires to transparency at all levels. For example, a child breaks something, the mother asks who did it, and the child says it was him.

7. Integrity

The principle of integrity refers to acting by doing the right thing, according to what morality dictates. For example, if we find an object and hand it over to its owner, we are acting with integrity.

8. Compassion

It is the compression of the suffering of others, accompanied by some action that allows to alleviate the situation temporarily or permanently.

For example, an unemployed person explains his situation on social media, and in response, many people express solidarity and offer him a job.

9. Equity

Equity is an ethical principle that implies giving each individual what corresponds to him according to his condition or his merits. For example, when a student is given extra time to complete an exam, due to a physical or cognitive condition that prevents him from performing in the same way as his peers.

10. Freedom

Freedom is an ethical principle that is manifested in the ability of people to express themselves and act according to their convictions. However, the exercise of freedom is not unlimited: it requires acting responsibly and with respect for the freedom of others. Only in this way is it possible to coexist harmoniously in society.

An example of this ethical principle is freedom of expression, enshrined as a universal human right.

11. Commitment

The commitment refers to complying with the obligations that we have contracted, regardless of the obstacles that may arise. For example, a doctor should always arrive in advance for surgery. If you are late or not, the well-being and even the lives of your patients may be in danger.

12. Transparency

Transparency is expressed in the clarity of our intentions and actions. In the field of public administration, transparency is a principle that implies access to information and the decisions of officials, as long as it is not contrary to the law. For example, a governor showing how he has managed the state’s resources is a form of transparency.

13. Empathy

It is the ability to understand the feelings and needs of the other. Empathy is the foundation of compassion, because by putting ourselves in the place of the other, we can help them more efficiently to alleviate their suffering.

For example, the mother sees the son crying because he wants to go out to play and cannot. She understands her son’s need to want to be outdoors and have fun, so she can understand how he feels.

14. Loyalty

It is to be consistent in the feeling or commitment we have with a person, group or institution. For example, we are loyal to our friends when we encourage and support them through difficult times because we appreciate them. We are loyal to our partner when we respect the covenant of fidelity that he has previously established.

15. Impartiality

Acting impartially means avoiding favoring any position, way of thinking or acting. In other words, being impartial requires acting fairly and objectively, always taking into account the common good.

In a soccer game, for example, the referee must be impartial, regardless of his preferences for one team or another.

16. Equality

It is the recognition that all people have the same rights and must fulfill the same obligations, regardless of our race, gender, age, educational level, social condition, etc. Equality is a universal human right and is one of the foundations of justice.

For example, migrants have the right to have access to public health in their host country.

17. Solidarity

It is an ethical principle that manifests itself when we support those who are in a difficult situation. A very common example of solidarity is fundraising campaigns on social media to support various causes.

18. Beneficence

It means acting considering the welfare of the other or the group. When we act ethically, our actions should be geared toward doing good. And if they only benefit us, at least they shouldn’t harm others.

For example, in medical ethics, the principle of beneficence implies recommending surgeries, treatments or medications that generate a benefit or improvement in the patient’s health.

19. Altruism

This ethical principle is expressed in the action of helping others in a selfless way, especially if they are in a disadvantageous situation. An example of altruism are organizations like Doctors Without Borders, whose members help victims of natural or human disasters.

See also Core Ethical Values ​​(and their examples)

Examples of moral

Moral systems vary from culture to culture and can change over time. In any case, they are guides of social behavior. Some examples of morals in everyday life can be:

1. Treat others as we want to be treated

Also known as the “golden rule”, it is an example of essential morality that we all must put into practice on a daily basis. It is as simple as that if we want to be respected, we have to start by respecting those around us. If we want them to be honest with us, we must show honesty in our actions, etc.

2. Behaving appropriately in public

Each space has its own codes of conduct: home, work, school. Adjusting to these standards is a way of showing respect for others and creating a harmonious environment for everyone.

3. Be in solidarity with those who need it

Every day we witness situations in which other people are in a situation of emotional, physical, economic vulnerability, etc. One way to put morals into practice is to give our support, to the best of our ability, to help others. Solidarity is very visible when there are situations of public commotion, but it is something that we can keep in mind on a daily basis with those who need it.

4. Pay off debts

It seems like a no-brainer, but some people find it difficult to meet their financial commitments. When we borrow something (especially money), our moral duty is to pay it back. It is the correct way to show that we are capable of keeping our word, of generating trust in the other and of being reciprocal with the help that they gave us.

5. Tell the truth

When we tell the truth we are showing our respect for the other and our commitment to honesty. The truth is not always pleasant or comfortable, but the transparency of our actions is necessary to establish trusting relationships with those around us.

6. Respect the institutions and authorities

Every society has its own governmental, social and religious institutions and authorities that represent them. Respecting them means abiding by their rules, as long as they are for the benefit of society and do not violate fundamental human rights. It also means respecting the laws in force, exercising our rights and fulfilling our obligations.

7. Honor our parents

Honoring, caring for and respecting our parents, grandparents and people involved in our upbringing is not only a moral duty, but it is even a legal obligation in countries like China. Ensuring the well-being of our parents or guardians, especially in old age, is a way of repaying the dedication they gave us.

8. Treat all people equally

All people are the same, regardless of our origin, socioeconomic, cultural level, etc. Equality of people is a universal human right, and we put it into practice every day when we deal with education, respect, empathy and tolerance both to our close environment and to those we do not know.

9. Take care of public spaces and goods

Public spaces and assets (squares, parks, schools, libraries, hospitals, etc.) were designed to promote social welfare. When someone damages public assets, they are depriving someone else of using it. A school with broken toilets or blackboards can quickly leave many students without the right to an education, so it is important to keep public assets in good repair.

10. Respect and help the elderly

Older people don’t just deserve respect because of their age. They deserve respect because they are human beings, and as they are old, they are likely to have some physical or cognitive limitations to function normally. Therefore, by helping and respecting them we are recognizing their dignity, their value and their space in society.

11. Protect children

Childhood is a stage that requires love, care and support. Protecting children and minors means that society as a whole must recognize their rights, treat them with respect, ensure their basic needs, ensure that they have access to health and education, report abuse, etc.

When parents make sure their children are healthy and go to school, they are protecting them. When teachers recognize and encourage children’s abilities, they are recognizing their value as persons.

12. Give priority to the elderly, children and vulnerable people in an emergency situation

Faced with a situation of risk, a moral norm is to help first those who are in a situation of greater vulnerability, such as the elderly, children, pregnant women or people with disabilities. It is a moral practice that protects those who, for various reasons, cannot act on their own in an emergency.

13. Always act honestly

Being honest is a moral practice that not only guarantees good relations with our close environment, but is also one of the foundations of a developed society. Honesty implies the transparency of our actions, therefore, an honest person is someone who can be trusted.

14. Be tolerant with those who think differently

People do not always agree on our ideas or beliefs. This diversity is valuable because it enriches life in society by contributing diverse points of view. Therefore, it is important to be tolerant and respect those who do not think the same as us. Being tolerant implies recognizing the other as an equal who has the same rights and obligations as us.

15. Be loyal to our loved ones

Being loyal means respecting, caring for and honoring the people with whom we have a bond. We are loyal to our family when we act for the benefit of all its members, we are loyal to our co-workers when we work as a team for a common goal and we resolve our differences in a respectful way. Being loyal requires respect and transparency.

16. Do not take what does not belong to us

When we take something without permission we are breaking several moral norms: we are not being honest, nor respectful, nor are we considering the person from whom we have taken what is his. Even if it is a temporary action (because we plan to return it) we always need the permission of the other to take something that is not ours.

Taking what is not ours is stealing. And that is not only a moral fault, but a crime.

17. Do not force an action without the consent of another person

If we need another person to do something, they have to give us their consent to do it, that is, they have to express their wishes clearly. Otherwise, we are violating your right to decide. In a relationship with a couple, for example, the consent of the other is always required, because making them participate in something without expressing their will can even be a crime, depending on the severity of the case.

18. Preserve health in public spaces

When we use public spaces we are exposed to contracting an infectious disease, but we can also infect others if we have one, even if we do not have symptoms. So if you have an infectious disease that can easily spread to other people, stay home until the infectious period is over. This is how you protect yourself and the community.

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