On 02 Sep 2012, at 19:10, meekerdb wrote:

On 9/2/2012 5:45 AM, Bruno Marchal wrote:
That's all I mean morals; having values about your own actions so that you can recognize that sometimes you do stupid or bad things - by your own standards - but which are not unethical because they have little or no effect on other people.

OK. May be it is a difference between english and french, where, at least in my country, moral is just a common term for ethical.

Yes, it is in english too.

Thanks for telling me.

But I'm trying to change that. :-)

Hmm.... You might read again what Humpty Dumpty say about the price of giving too much work to words :)

Maybe you can suggest a different word, but the morals/ethics distinction I suggest seems close to common usage. And even if you want to keep the two words as coextensive, it's still useful when someone refers to "immoral" to think whether he means something he would regard as bad in himself (like enjoying some pot)

(I can understand but I have to replace pot by alcohol, for which statistics exists that it is bad in himself).

or he means it harms other people and should be discouraged by society.

I appreciate that you seem to think that the society can only discouraged behavior which harms the others.

And that's the main reason I think the distinction is useful. When a politician says "X is immoral and we should pass a law against X." his audience thinks, "Yes. He's right. I would feel badly if I did X or my child did X." Sometimes X is also bad for other people, i.e. unethical and society should discourage it. But other times it is just personally repugnant to the audience (like homosexuality or getting drunk) and the audience should think, "Well I think it's immoral - but it's not unethical. We don't need such a law." By not making the distinction they allow the inference immoral- >unethical->illegal.

I certainly appreciate your intention. Not sure changing the words can help. We should just stick to "don't harm the others, and do as you want as long as no one complain", or something like that.



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