Morality and the Law

  • Joseph Migga Kizza
Part of the Texts in Computer Science book series (TCS)


This chapter defines and examines personal and public morality, identifying assumptions and values and the law, looking at both conventional and natural law, and the intertwining of morality and the law. We define morality as a system that, in addition to setting standards of virtuous conduct for people, also consists of mechanisms to self-regulate through enforcement of the moral code and self-judge through guilt, which is an internal discomfort resulting from disappointment in self-mediated conscience. Based on this definition, we discuss moral theories, moral codes, moral standards and norms, and how they are used to make judgment of human actions to determine their goodness or badness. With the discussion of moral standards, we venture into concepts of guilt and conscience. We show how moral guilt is a result of self-judgment and punishment by an individual for not living up to the moral standards set for oneself or for the group. We end the chapter with discussion of morality and the law noting that conventional laws of a society are anchored by the moral beliefs of that society. We look into the heated argument about this statement and observe that both morality and the legal system serve the purpose of keeping society stable and secure.


Moral Theory Moral Belief Golden Rule Moral Standard Penal Code 
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Further Reading

  1. Conclusion: words, not laws, should be the weapons. The Ethical Spectacle, November 1995.
  2. Edel A, Flower E, O’Connor F (1989) Morality, philosophy, and practice: historical and contemporary readings and studies, 3rd edn. Random House, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  3. Johnson DG (1994) Computer ethics, 2nd edn. Prentice Hall, Englewood CliffsGoogle Scholar
  4. Kizza JM (ed) (1996) Social and ethical effects of the computer revolution. McFarland, JeffersonGoogle Scholar
  5. Macer DRJ (1994) Bioethics for the people by the people. Eubios Ethics Institute, Christchurch, pp 74–91.
  6. Shepard J, Goldsby MG, Gerde VW, Teaching business ethics through literature. Online J Ethics.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joseph Migga Kizza
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Computer Science and EngineeringUniversity of TennesseeChattanoogaUSA

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