Morality and the Human Condition, #3–How Ethics Relates to Morality.

By Robert Hanna

“The Human Condition,” by Thomas Whitaker


Table of Contents

I. Introduction


The first installment contains section I.

The second installment contains section II.1.

And this installment contains section II.2.

But you can also read or download a .pdf version of the complete short course HERE.


II.2 How Ethics Relates to Morality

As Hegel in the 19th century and also many more recent or contemporary philosophers — perhaps most notably, in the 1970s, Bernard Williams — have correctly noted, it’s illuminating to distinguish between “ethics” (aka Sittlichkeit) and “morality” (aka Moralität).[i]


[i] See, e.g., B. Williams, Ethics and the Limits of Philosophy (London: Fontana, 1985); and B. Williams, Morality: An Introduction to Ethics (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1972). The ethics vs. morality = Sittlichkeit vs. Moralität contrast has also had some impact in contemporary philosophy. E.g., essentially the same distinction is replicated in the titles and basic topics of the first two divisions of Shafer-Landau’s widely-used and influential Fundamentals of Ethics: “The Good Life” and “Normative Ethics: Doing the Right Thing,” which sets it interestingly apart from the bog-standard tripartite division of moral philosophy into meta-ethics, normative ethics, and applied ethics.