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Morality (from the Latin moralities "manner, character, proper behavior") is a sense of behavioral conduct that differentiates intentions, decisions, and actions between those that are good (or right) and bad (or wrong). A moral code is a system of morality (for example, according to a particular philosophy, religion, culture, etc.) and a moral is any one practice or teaching within a moral code. Immorality is the active opposition to morality, while amorality is variously defined as an unawareness of, indifference toward, or disbelief in any set of moral standards or principles.[1][2][3][4]

Morality has two principal meanings:

  • In its "descriptive" sense, morality refers to personal or cultural values, codes of conduct or social mores that distinguish between right and wrong in the human society. Describing morality in this way is not making a claim about what is objectively right or wrong, but only referring to what is considered right or wrong by people. For the most part right and wrong acts are classified as such because they are thought to cause benefit or harm, but it is possible that many moral beliefs are based on prejudice, ignorance or even hatred.[clarification needed] This sense of the term is addressed by descriptive ethics.
  • In its "normative" sense, morality refers directly to what is right and wrong, regardless of what specific individuals think. It could be defined as the conduct of the ideal "moral" person in a certain situation. This usage of the term is characterized by "definitive" statements such as "That act is immoral" rather than descriptive ones such as "Many believe that act is immoral." It is often challenged by moral nihilism, which rejects the existence of an any moral truths,[5] and supported by moral realism, which supports the existence of moral truths. The normative usage of the term "morality" is addressed by normative ethics.


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