Latest Issue

Grayling’s question

By AC Grayling   June 2008

Is there a real difference between the words “moral” and “ethical”?

In the mouths of politicians and pundits, the phrase “moral and ethical” is a pleonasm—and a sloppy one. Such folk—if asked whether they use both words in the same phrase because they recognise a difference in meaning and wish to denote either the union or the intersection of those meanings—might be hard pressed to explain the difference. Most people, indeed, will almost certainly think the words are synonyms, even if they know that they are, respectively, of Latin and Greek derivation (unlikely in these unclassical days).

And yet there…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to

More From Prospect