Theories of the Conscience

  • Created by: Hannah
  • Created on: 15-11-13 19:46
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  • Conscience
    • Newman
      • 'I toast the Pope, but I toast conscience first'
      • Agreed with Aquinas - conscience is the ability to appreciate and apply moral principles
        • However, his approach was more Intuitive - much like Butler
      • When someone is following their conscience they are to an extent following a divine law as given by God
      • Conscience is God's voice giving us moral direction - conscience is more than a sense of reason
      • Conscience detects the truth that already   exists             You must follow your conscience as it is the divine law
      • Guilt is the consequence of not obeying the voice of God
    • Freud
      • The human psyche is inspired by powerful instinctive desires which have to be satisfied
        • Humans create the 'ego', which takes account of the realities of the world and society
        • A 'super-ego' internalises and reflects anger and disapproval of others
        • A guilty conscience is created which grows into a life and power of its own, irrespective of the rational thought and reflection of the individual
        • The mature and healthy conscience is the ego's reflection about the best way of achieving integrity
        • The immature conscience (the super-ego) is a mass of feelings of guilt
        • The psychological account of conscience is modern, but can undermine both of the previous religious views
    • Butler
      • Conscience is the final moral decision maker
      • It distinguishes between approval and disapproval of human action
      • Humans are influenced by two basis principles, self-love and benevolence
      • Conscience directs us towards benevolence and away from self-love
      • 'our natural guide, the guide assigned us by the Author of our nature'
    • Aquinas
      • Conscience isn't an inner knowledge of right and wrong, but a device or faculty for distinguishing right from wrong actions
      • People basically tend to the good and away from evil (the synderesis rule)
      • Conscience is 'reason malking right decisions'
      • There are two parts to making moral decisions:
        • synderesis is right reason, an awareness of the moral principle to do good and avoid evil
        • conscientia distinguishes between right and wrong and makes moral decisions
      • It is a sin not to follow your conscience
      • When people do evil they are following an apparent good - their conscience is mistaken
    • Augustine of Hippo
      • God was and is the source of all goodness
      • all other supposed virtues such as goodness and justice are just aspects of virtue, which is GOD.
      • divine love binds all the aspects of virtue to the one virtue which is God?
        • The Conscience emerges from this outflow of divine love
        • The conscience is God's love poured forth to human beings; it is when God speaks to the individual.
      • Since God is perfect love and virtue any divine experience will reveal the inadequacies of being human and also our inability to do anything about it.
      • Conscience is more important than the moral teachings of the Church. Some put it greater than the Bible
      • Augustine says the conscience cannot be questioned.  Many find this hard to accept. Is it Gods voice or self-delusion? ,Contradicts God if person A does something different to person B in the same situation.


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