Ethos vs. Ethic

By Jaxson

Main Difference

The main difference between Ethos and Ethic is that the Ethos is a Greek word for “character” and Ethic is a branch of philosophy that involves systematizing, defending, and recommending concepts of right and wrong conduct.

  • Ethos

    Ethos ( or US: ) is a Greek word meaning “character” that is used to describe the guiding beliefs or ideals that characterize a community, nation, or ideology. The Greeks also used this word to refer to the power of music to influence emotions, behaviours, and even morals. Early Greek stories of Orpheus exhibit this idea in a compelling way. The word’s use in rhetoric is closely based on the Greek terminology used by Aristotle in his concept of the three artistic proofs.

  • Ethic

    Ethics or moral philosophy is a branch of philosophy that involves systematizing, defending, and recommending concepts of right and wrong conduct. The term ethics derives from Ancient Greek ἠθικός (ethikos), from ἦθος (ethos), meaning ‘habit, custom’. The branch of philosophy axiology comprises the sub-branches of ethics and aesthetics, each concerned with values.

    Ethics seeks to resolve questions of human morality by defining concepts such as good and evil, right and wrong, virtue and vice, justice and crime. As a field of intellectual enquiry, moral philosophy also is related to the fields of moral psychology, descriptive ethics, and value theory.

    Three major areas of study within ethics recognized today are:

    Meta-ethics, concerning the theoretical meaning and reference of moral propositions, and how their truth values (if any) can be determined

    Normative ethics, concerning the practical means of determining a moral course of action

    Applied ethics, concerning what a person is obligated (or permitted) to do in a specific situation or a particular domain of action

  • Ethos (noun)

    The character or fundamental values of a person, people, culture, or movement.

  • Ethos (noun)

    A form of rhetoric in which the writer or speaker invokes their authority, competence or expertise in an attempt to persuade others that their view is correct.

  • Ethos (noun)

    The traits in a work of art which express the ideal or typic character, as influenced by the ethos (character or fundamental values) of a people, rather than realistic or emotional situations or individual character in a narrow sense; opposed to pathos.

  • Ethic (adjective)

    Moral, relating to morals.

  • Ethic (noun)

    A set of principles of right and wrong behaviour guiding, or representative of, a specific culture, society, group, or individual.

    “I think the golden rule is a great ethic.”

  • Ethic (noun)

    The morality of an action.

  • Ethos (noun)

    the characteristic spirit of a culture, era, or community as manifested in its attitudes and aspirations

    “a challenge to the ethos of the 1960s”

  • Ethic (noun)

    a set of moral principles, especially ones relating to or affirming a specified group, field, or form of conduct

    “the puritan ethic was being replaced by the hedonist ethic”

  • Ethic (adjective)

    relating to moral principles or the branch of knowledge dealing with these

    “the ethic question is of wider import”

Oxford Dictionary

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