Day 79 – Q 3. “In law, a man is guilty when he violates the rights of others. In ethics he is guilty if he only thinks of doing so.”Enunciate.
3. “In law, a man is guilty when he violates the rights of others. In ethics he is guilty if he only thinks of doing so.”Enunciate.
Law which was made by nation, constitution or an entity to govern in the way it expects, whereas ethics deal with subjective moral conscious of an individual at societal level. Later one denotes subjectivity which includes actions as well as thoughts and former one avows its objective essence to actions only.
The above quote by Immanuel Kant makes a distinction between ethics and law.
Laws are externally enforced upon a society and deter potential crime. Ethics, on the other hand, serve to guide individual conscience by enabling people to separate right from wrong.
Thoughts lead to actions. In law, the legality of actions is adjudged. Similar purpose for thoughts is served by ethics.
For example, a person who thinks about killing another person is not guilty in law as he does not deprive the other person of his right to life. However, simply by harbouring thoughts of murder, he is ethically guilty. Similarly, men who think of violating a woman’s dignity are guilty from an ethical point of view, even though they may not be considered legally guilty until they actually perform that act.
On the other hand, Kant’s statement may not always hold true, as ethics reflect the society’s mindset, which changes with time.
For example, Adultery was a criminal act in India till very recently, by law as well as ethics. Now it is decriminalised by law (Supreme Court judgment) but large section of the Indian society still consider it unethical.
Ethics and laws are complementary to each other. Most laws are derived from ethics, and both of them reinforce each other to create a stable, harmonious society. The purpose of both is to create a just, equitable, rule-based environment for humans to thrive in and flourish.
Best Answer: Chiranjeev Biswas