If you agree with the definitions that follow, do freethinkers havr morals or ethics, or a combo?

Ethics:  A system of thinking about correct behaviour that comes from personsl introspection.

Morals:   A system of thought about behaviour that is based on some outward form od authority such as government ornreligion.

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I suppose it's taken on a case-by-case basis by the parole board.  At the moment, if someone's considered a danger to the public, I presume they're not let out.  Someone who's worked in the corrections system could tell us how it works. 

@Jack - it's the mystery of mysteries.  No matter how clearly I explain it, you won't understand it unless you think about it. 

These are my definitions/observations, without looking up definitions.

Morality comes from authority. People choose their favorite authorities for personal and often emotional or illogical reasons, and they can criticize other moral standards as being beneath them. They'll consider imposing their morals on others, even if it affects people's personal (behind closed doors) lives. At its extremes, morality carries judgmental pronouncements of "good vs evil".

Ethics comes from people who've agreed upon standards of interaction, such that mutually beneficial interactions are highly likely. If two groups differ too much in ethics, they just prefer not deal with each other, often without judgmentalism (i.e. "moralism"). Ethics employs more introspection in a "golden rule" sense, sponsoring trustworthy interaction, or discouraging interaction if ethical standards are not considered mutually beneficial. Ethics provides a baseline of expectations and risk assessment, helping people decide if they want to or should conduct business with each other.

Law puts morals and/or ethics into enforceable form. Religion and morality have more say in what becomes law in some countries, while business and ethics inform what becomes law in other countries. It's no accident that highly religious, moralistic countries are stuck with stone age, repressive traditions. Some Americans think they would like to revert back to religious and moralistic standards of behavior, but fortunately, the Constitution forbids it.

We are taught ethical behavior by a moral code that was created by ethical behavior. We operate on ethics, derived from observation, introspection, and by what we first learned from the moral code that was first taught to us.

Morals can be seen as the long term copy, and Ethics as the constantly evolving short term copy that adds to the long term.

In essence, it's macro-evolution and micro-evolution.

Here's what Wikipedia's got to say, not that it's necessarily accurate. 

Ethics, also known as moral philosophy, is a branch of philosophy that involves systematizing, defending and recommending concepts of right and wrong conduct, often addressing disputes of moral diversity. 

Morality (from the Latin moralitas "manner, character, proper behavior") is the differentiation of intentions, decisions, and actions between those that are "good" (or right) and those that are "bad" (or wrong). The philosophy of morality is ethics.

In other words, what I've always been saying: ethics is about making rational decisions based on due consideration of the effects of one's actions. Morality involves rote parroting and obedience to various dicta (following instructions, in other words, The Ten Commandments, for example).

I get it now.  Morality means what you actually do, and the moral attitudes you hold; and ethics means the study of those things.  So the two are tightly linked.  Morality and spirituality are tightly linked too.  Spirituality is an advanced form of morality. 

Not exactly, because both involve how to justify your actions. In the case of ethics, you think about it, weighing the facts and the likely results and the impact of those results generally, and then you act based on that determination. In the case of morality, you simply carry out a rule ("though shalt..." or "thou shalt not...").

Ethics: I did what, all things considered, seemed to be the best thing to do.

Morality: I did what I was supposed to do (based on scripture, commandments, etc.).

This assumes that morality is always imposed from without, and denies the role of individual choice and conscience. 

On the other hand, we could say that conscience always comes from both without and within.  I've read, and I agree, that conscience (the super-ego, partly conscious and partly unconscious) starts life as the norms we absorb from our parents or caregivers as children.  Then it is educated and modified throughout life as we accumulate experiences of dealing with other people.  And what is morality, if not the way in which we treat others? 

And what is morality, if not the way in which we treat others?

It also prescribes/proscribes private behavior that doesn't affect others.

But surely behaviour that doesn't affect others, isn't covered by morality.  Attitudes and ideals however, are covered by morality.  Or perhaps ethics. 


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