Ethos vs. Ethics

By Jaxson

Main Difference

The main difference between Ethos and Ethics is that the Ethos is a Greek word for “character” and Ethics 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.

  • Ethics

    Ethics or moral philosophy is a branch of philosophy that involves systematizing, defending, and recommending concepts of right and wrong conduct. The field of ethics, along with aesthetics, concern matters of value, and thus comprise the branch of philosophy called axiology.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 inquiry, 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.

  • Ethics (noun)

    The study of principles relating to right and wrong conduct.

  • Ethics (noun)


  • Ethics (noun)

    The standards that govern the conduct of a person, especially a member of a profession.

  • 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”

  • Ethics (noun)

    moral principles that govern a person’s behaviour or the conducting of an activity

    “a code of ethics”

    “medical ethics also enter into the question”

  • Ethics (noun)

    the moral correctness of specified conduct

    “many scientists question the ethics of cruel experiments”

  • Ethics (noun)

    the branch of knowledge that deals with moral principles

    “neither metaphysics nor ethics is the home of religion”

Oxford Dictionary

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