Ethics versus Morals

Today, on course COMP 3620, Professional Practices in Computer Science (actually, or to be more precisely, the course name should be Computer Ethics), we continue talking about the concepts about ethics vs morals but much deeper.

To tell you the truth, I still can’t figure out how helpful of this course to your ability of computer science. Just think about our course topic today. It’s hard to believe that knowing the difference between ethics and morals will promote your programming techniques. But undoubtedly, this course will totally wash my mind of perspective of computer science to our society. For example, without this course, I may never think about the differences between the two term. Anyway, thinking is not a bad thing, right?

Really, it’s such a hard thing to tell them apart exactly that even our instructor can’t do it. So, rather than trying to defining the two term for us, he chose to tell some properties about them.

Before he really did that, he showed us a transprency from a book, which tells the different between the two term by a picture. There are some balloons floating above a small viliage. The words under the picture said that morals are like the passages of the villiage, while ethics are like the balloons in the sky. That’s even more abstract for us so we treated it like a joke.

Other than the properties of ethics and morals, what impressed me was the examples from our instructor. The most impressive one is about abortion. A woman comes to a hospital for abortion. Without doing this, she will be very hard for her life. Even she is going to die. But the doctor is a Catholic (Catholic don’t allow abortion). For the doctor, abortion is morally wrong. But as a doctor, he has the obligation to serve the patient. So abortion is ethical not wrong.

Well, with this example, I feel better for the differences. But it’s still hard to describe the differences. Maybe it makes you to think. As I said before, thinking is always a good thing. Do you agree with that?

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