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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…

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