Posted in Cursory Resources, Let's Talk About Poly

Ethics and Morals

Oh, buddy, I hate this topic with a passion. I recently had a breakup, that despite limited communication due to the tension the discussion invoked, I believe that part of the issue was their heavy belief that ethics are subjective, which is true, but not in the way that was central to the discussion we were having. They were discussing morality. I was discussing ethics. However, due to the interchangeable and colloquial use of ethics and morals, people often don’t understand that they are using the wrong term.

I am sorry, not sorry to inform you all that ethics and morals are not the same, and you must be careful in how you use the term in communication. This is a significant issue in why so many arguments break out. Foundationally ethics are cultural and communal. This also includes subcultures. Morals are individual and are deeply connected to our experiences, nurture, and personal growth. When discussing how actions affect others, both matter; however, the impact is the basis of the term you use.

One of the many communities these conversations occur in is the polyamorous community. The terms consensual nonmonogamy and ethical nonmonogamy are different but also colloquially used interchangeably. Polyamory is distinctly about the ethics of nonmonogamous loving relationships; Not defining love for others; Not telling people how to present that love; Not the priority of certain types of intimacy. It is about the cultural ethics of this specific subset of nonmonogamy. A dictionary definition does not explain the intricacies of cultural expressions and agreement throughout the community. No, quick definition does. The base definitions that float about are introductions not, the full picture of what polyamory is.

I will share some cursory links to help people understand ethics and morals as different terms that cover different relationships to similar central ideas.




What is the difference between Ethics, Morality and the Law?
What’s The Difference Between “Morals” vs. “Ethics”?
What’s the Difference Between Morality and Ethics?
You say morals, I say ethics – what’s the difference?
Ethics, morality, law – what’s the difference?
Compare and contrast “morality” and “ethics.”
Ethics And Morality
An Analysis on Law Vs. Ethics and Morals in a Changing Society
The Battle Between Morality Vs. Ethics: Which One Wins?
Ethics and Morality