If we expect to understand ethics, we must know exactly what the word means. Surprisingly, not everyone does. The words ethics, morality, and values are commonly confused with one another, perhaps because of their inherent overlap.
Our values are the qualities or ideas which each of us cares about and considers important. They can be morally or ethically based, or simply based on natural want or need. They can be good or bad, reasonable or unreasonable. Values are the elements on which we base our actions.
Morality is one's individual perception of right and wrong, good and evil. While one's perception of morality does not directly affect others, it does influence the attitudes and values of a society.
The word ethics refers to a set or system of moral ideals. Just as it takes the thoughts and ideas of many people to make up an ideology, ethics are a product of society. Being so, it is not surprising that many ethical issues deal with the relationship between the individual and the group. It is in this area that the most change has occurred in ethics throughout time.