4 Types of Ethics

Manuela A. Gomez


We need to identify that there are different types of ethics and you may have been already exposed to them.





Can you guess what the differences are?


Personal Ethics

  • Includes your personal values and moral qualities.
  • Influenced by family, friends, culture, religion, education and many other factors.
  • Examples: I believe racism is morally wrong. I am in favor of abortion.
  • Personal ethics can change and are chosen by an individual.


Common Ethics

  • Ethics that the majority of people agree on.
  • Many philosophers argue there is no such ethics.
  • Do we have the same ethics in the world? Do we have the same ethics in the U.S.? Does everyone in your family share the same ethics?
  • Examples: Murdering people for the sake of murder is wrong.
  • Notice how this would change in the context of self-defense.
  • Common ethics have to be very general to avoid disagreement.

Professional Ethics

  • Rules imposed on an employee in a company, or as member of a profession. For instance, journalists, doctors, lawyers, etc.
  • Imposed when you are a part of a professional setting or when you are being trained or educated for working for a specific profession.
  • Examples: no gossiping, time management, punctuality, confidentiality, transparency.
  • Not adhering to these may harm your professional reputation.


Come up with 3 different examples of beliefs that pertain to your personal ethics.

  • For instance: It is wrong to eat animals and animal products.



These are different types of ethics and they can sometimes overlap or come into conflict with each other.

  • Can you come up with an example of personal ethics conflicting with professional ethics?
  • What about vice versa?


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Types of Ethics Copyright © by Manuela A. Gomez is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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