65 Ethics Quotes the World Needs to Hear Right Now
Published Sept 26, 2021
Have you ever had that moment when the law tells you it’s right but your conscience says otherwise? This is what many would call an ethical dilemma. How you respond during these situations says a lot about the kind of person you are.
From a young age, we are taught about what is right and what is wrong. But the line separating these two isn’t always clear-cut. There will always be grey areas and this is where ethics come in.
By definition, ethics are moral principles that govern a person’s behavior or the conduct of an activity. But in reality, the meaning of ethics is hard to pin down and most people don’t agree on a single definition.
That’s because, unlike the law, ethics are subjective. Each of us has our own set of moral principles shaped by our culture, beliefs, and experiences. Since it largely depends on our individual convictions, we become our own judge and we only have our guilt as punishment.
In an increasingly politically correct world, the definition of right and wrong has never been more confusing. What is legally right may not always be viewed as such by society. And what may seem right to the rest of society may contradict your personal beliefs and values.
This is why the ultimate challenge for all of us is not whether we are doing the right thing. Rather, it’s about how willing we are to do what we think is right.
To help you find your ethical anchor, we compiled these ethics quotes. These are not meant to tell you what you need to do but rather to give you the courage to do what your conscience tells you to.
- Calamity is the test of integrity. – Samuel Richardson
- Whatever is my right as a man is also the right of another; and it becomes my duty to guarantee as well as to possess. – Thomas Paine
- Our very lives depend on the ethics of strangers, and most of us are always strangers to other people. – Bill Moyers
- Once a man knows good from evil, nothing on earth can compel him to act against that knowledge. – Socrates
- Our integrity is never worth so much as when we have parted with our all to keep it. – Ovid Ovid
- Until he extends the circle of his compassion to all living things, man will not himself find peace. – Albert Schweitzer
- It is the mark of the cultured man that he is aware of the fact that equality is an ethical and not a biological principle. – Ashley Montagu
- A person may cause evil to others not only by his actions but by his inaction, and in either case, he is justly accountable to them for the injury. – John Stuart Mill
- Ethics is, in origin, the art of recommending to others the sacrifices required for cooperation with oneself. – Bertrand Russell
- A quiet conscience makes one strong – Anne Frank
- I can do no other than be reverent before everything that is called life. I can do no other than to have compassion for all that is called life. That is the beginning and the foundation of all ethics. – Albert Schweitzer
- You don’t teach morals and ethics and empathy and kindness in the schools. You teach that at home and children learn by example. – Judy Sheindlin
- We have in fact, two kinds of morality, side by side: one which we preach but do not practice, and another which we practice, but seldom preach. – Bertrand Russell
- Create all the happiness you are able to create; remove all the misery you are able to remove. Every day will allow you – will invite you to add something to the pleasure of others – or to diminish something of their pains. – Jeremy Bentham
- There are two types of people in this world, good and bad. The good sleep better, but the bad seem to enjoy the waking hours much more. – Woody Allen
- Let me give you a definition of ethics: It is good to maintain and further life, it is bad to damage and destroy life. – Albert Schweitzer
- A starry sky is equally interesting to a scientist, a mystic, an ethics scholar, and a poet. Looking at the stars, each experiences something different, and each sees his own picture. – Alija Izetbegovic
- Any tool can be used for good or bad. It’s really the ethics of the artist using it. – John Knoll
- People who try hard to do the right thing always seem mad. – Stephen King
- Ethics and equity and the principles of justice do not change with the calendar – D.H. Lawrence
- Without ethics, man has no future. This is to say, mankind without them cannot be itself. Ethics determine choices and actions and suggest difficult priorities. – John Berger
- About morals, I know only that what is moral is what you feel good after, and what is immoral is what you feel bad after. – Ernest Hemingway
- The most important ingredient we put into any relationship is not what we say or what we do, but what we are. And if our words and our actions come from superficial human relations techniques (the Personality Ethic) rather than from our own inner core (the Character Ethic), others will sense that duplicity. We simply won’t be able to create and sustain the foundation necessary for effective interdependence. – Stephen Covey
- An adult is a child who has more ethics and morals. – Shigeru Miyamoto
- A man does what he must – in spite of personal consequences, in spite of obstacles and dangers and pressures – and that is the basis of all human morality. – John F. Kennedy
- A business that makes nothing but money is a poor business. – Henry Ford
- Ethics is nothing else than reverence for life. – Albert Schweitzer
- Live one day at a time emphasizing ethics rather than rules – Wayne Dyer
- In just about every area of society, there’s nothing more important than ethics. – Henry Paulson
- Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all. – Aristotle
- There is no strength to be gained from hurting one another, only weakness. – Ursula K. Le Guin
- Acting responsibly is not a matter of strengthening our reason but of deepening our feelings for the welfare of others. – Jostein Gaarder
- You don’t have to choose between being scientific and being compassionate. – Robert M. Sapolsky
- The function of education, therefore, is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. But education that stops with efficiency may prove the greatest menace to society. The most dangerous criminal may be the man gifted with reason, but with no morals. – Martin Luther King, Jr.
- Wrong is wrong, even if everyone is doing it. Right is right even if no one is doing it. – William Penn
- The most important human endeavor is the striving for morality in our actions. Our inner balance and even our very existence depend on it. Only morality in our actions can give beauty and dignity to life. – Albert Einstein
- Ethics is knowing the difference between what you have a right to do and what is right to do. – Potter Stewart
- Do not be too moral. You may cheat yourself out of much life. So aim above morality. Be not simply good; be good for something. – Henry David Thoreau
- People who truly understand what is meant by self-reliance know they must live their lives by ethics rather than rules. – Wayne Dyer
- Only morality in our actions can give beauty and dignity to life. – Albert Einstein
- In law, a man is guilty if he violates the rights of others. In ethics, he is guilty if he only thinks of doing so. – Immanuel Kant
- A man without ethics is a wild beast loosed upon this world. – Albert Camus
- Non-violence leads to the highest ethics, which is the goal of all evolution. Until we stop harming all other living beings, we are still savages. – Thomas Edison
- In civilized life, law floats in a sea of ethics – Earl Warren
- I count him braver who overcomes his desires than him who conquers his enemies, for the hardest victory is over self. – Aristotle
- Have the courage to say no. Have the courage to face the truth. Do the right thing because it is right. These are the magic keys to living your life with integrity. – W. Clement Stone
- We have two kinds of morality side by side: one which we preach but do not practice, and the other which we practice but seldom preach. – Bertrand Russel
- The first step in the evolution of ethics is a sense of solidarity with other human beings. – Albert Schweitzer
- Action indeed is the sole medium of expression for ethics. – Jane Addams
- It is curious – curious that physical courage should be so common in the world, and moral courage so rare. – Mark Twain
- For this equilibrium now in sight, let us trust that mankind, as it has occurred in the greatest periods of its past, will find for itself a new code of ethics, common to all, made of tolerance, of courage, and of faith in the Spirit of men. – Albert Claude
- At times it appears easy to sermonize on morality and ethics. But morality and ethics appear good only when applied to others, never on oneself. – Jaggi Vasudev
- In ethics, there is humility; moralists are usually righteous. – John Berger
- It’s the love of right lures men to wrong. – Kim Stanley Robinson
- Even the most rational approach to ethics is defenseless if there isn’t the will to do what is right. – Alexander Solzhenitsyn
- Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
- Ethics is the activity of man directed to secure the inner perfection of his own personality. – Albert Schweitzer
- You cannot receive a shock unless you have an electric affinity for that which shocks you. – Henry David Thoreau
- I do not believe in immortality of the individual, and I consider ethics to be an exclusively human concern with no superhuman authority behind it. – Albert Einstein
- Universal ethics is a corollary of universal kinship. Moral obligation is as boundless as feeling. – J. Howard Moore
- So I think ethics is the broader thing that’s less focused on prohibitions and is more perhaps looking at principles and questions and ideas about how to live your life. – Peter Singer
- In life, there are always two choices; the selfish and the selfless. – Wayne Gerard Trotman
- The power to make a choice goes with the duty of accepting the responsibility of the outcome of the choice. – Michael Eneyo
- Ethics is not a matter of surveying scripture to determine what constitutes virtuous behavior. A person with high moral character must think about life and act in accordance with their conscientious conclusion. – Kilroy J. Oldster
Your ethical muscle grows stronger every time you choose right over wrong. – Price Pritchett
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About The Author
Judy Ponio is a professional writer and devoted Christian. She has a passion for writing about topics related to morality and helping the poor and homeless. She is the lead author for the Our Father’s House Soup Kitchen blog.
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