Ethics is the science which discusses the good or bad of human conduct which is not possible without society which is studied by sociology. There being a relation between the individual and society, ethics and sociology related. Man cannot even be imagined outside society. He acquires his concepts of good and bad, duty or non-duty, virtue, vice and convention from society.

The mental and ethical development of the individual depends very much upon society. Man does not do goods acts because God wants such acts or that they are essential for living in society but rather because society accepts them as good and the ethical thoughts related to such conduct are inherent in social insititutions.

Therefore, goodness is a social contention. On the other hand, the evolution of society is dependent on the ethos of the people because, ultimately, society is only a web of social relationships. Great man have effected many reform is society.

Thus, the relation between man and society is very intimate. Due to this reason again, ethics and sociology are closely related. Ethics is concerned with ethical ideal, the right and wrong of actions, the moral development and the character of the invidual. Sociology is the study of the nature of human society, its origin and development. It makes a study of the development and conventions of the different groups.


According to T. Abel, “Sociology is the scientific study of social relationship, their variety, their forms whatever effects them and whatever they effect.”

Ethics is dependent upon sociology for the description of man’s ultimate good in relation with society. We only know the individual man as a member of some society, what we call his virtues are chiefly exhibited in his dealings with his fellows, and his most prominent pleasures are derived from intercourse with them, thus it is a paradox to maintain that man’s highest good is independent of his social relations, or of the constitution and condition of the community of which he forms a part.

So that ultimate good of the individual is based upon the ultimate good of society as he is an inseparable part of society. The aim of ethics is to synthesise individual and social good, selfishness and altruism. Social science studies the social habits, conversions and those institution which influence men. Thus ethics depends upon sociology. On the other hand, sociology also depends upon ethics.

It studies the habits conventions and institution of groups and communities from his prehistoric animal behaviour. But this idea is fallacious. Even though from the historical point of view, ethics and sociology spring from the same source, there is a fundamental difference between two a fact forgotten by people who hold this opinion. The differences between ethics and sociology are the following:


1. Normative science study ideals and positive sciences study facts. Sociology gives factual knowledge of social relations while eithics ideals. It decides the good and bad in social conventions, habits, traditions, etc. In this way, sociology and ethics are related to each other but their scopes do not coincide.

2. Sociology is a comparatively theoretical study while ethics very much affects our practical life. It tries to seek the ultimate good and in its light makes judgements concerning virtues, duties, good and bad in social institutions, conventions, authority and economic and political laws, etc. In the form of the science of ethical ideals it is also related to philosophy.

3. Sociology studies man as a member of sociology. Ethics studies man as a responsible individual having freedom of will.

4. Sociology is an objective science whereas ethics is a normative science. Sociology studies objective processes and convention, laws, organization, etc. The subject of ethics is internal motive, desires, violation and man’s conduct in the context of intentions.


5. The method of sociology is historical, scientific and empirical. The method of ethics is teleological. It is scientific, as well as philosophical, empirical as well as transcendental. It is descriptive and critical. Sociology like other positive sciences looks into a cause effect relation in the facts. Ethics gives them their places in the world and comparing them to the ultimate good, describe ethical facts. Sociology studies the external behaviour of man, while ethics emphasises the internal aspect. Thus, ethics cannot be said to be a branch of sociology.