Conscience

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  • Conscience
    • Aquinas: synderesis and conscientae - right action and right reason. Morality objective, given by God - 'law written on our hearts'.
      • Conscience is fallible - apparent goods, but guarantees moral blamelessness as following God-given faculty. Ignoring it is 'dismissing the command of God.'
        • WEAKNESSES: some acts can never be morally blameless and need punishment - assumes good and evil same for everyone - requires belief in God - assumes humans are orientated towards the good by synderesis - are humans really rational and can conscience conflict with reason
      • STRENGTHS - highly inf view in CC - explains how c can be incorrect due to wrong use of reason - clear set authority - 'gentile conscience sometimes accuses, sometimes excuses.' - everyone can experience reason - everyone can apply intuitive knowledge and reason
    • Freud - Id (pleasure) Ego (reality) Superego (moral principles). C is aspect of superego 'judges it and threatens it with punishment.'
      • Deterministic - internal force that is learned and observed, so an action is never free. Conscience is inherited traditions of family and community.
      • STRENGTHS - importance of childhood in moral development - role of parents - doesn't require God-given faculty
      • WEAKNESSES - ignores later life experiences, is conscience really unconscious? do we not have more control over it? - poor methodology - no reference to God
    • Fromm - authoritarian consience. External authority's influence. 'Guilty conscience is consciousness of  displeasing it.'
      • Eichmann trial - 'only obeying my orders' and Milgram exper. Reverence for altruistic authority.
    • Humanistic conscience - mature, reflecting and able to take responsibility. Realisation of potential and we evaluate our own behaviour.
    • Joseph Butler: Conscience directs every individual as we make decisions based off of self-love and benevolence. Self-love over benevolence.
      • 'adjudicates between the two interests, self-love and benevolence.' Guidance is intuitive and is a gift from God. Universal authority in all moral judgements.
    • John Newman: 'voice of the lawgiver'. 'One to whom we are responsible.' Illative sense allows us to accept the demands of the conscience.
    • Piaget: From upbringing, not God. Heteronymous morality. Development of conscience is naturally occurring but also learned from external influences.

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