Conscience - Thomas Aquinas' Views

  • Created by: mariam26
  • Created on: 28-03-21 14:23
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  • Conscience - Thomas Aquinas' Views
    • How did Aquinas develop his notion of conscience?
      • In developing his notion of conscience, Aquinas took a theological but reasoned approach
        • E.G. how God has instilled reason in us
      • He also developed the ideas of Aristotle such as the question of moral responsibility
    • Ratio (reason)
      • Has been placed in each person as a result of being created by God
      • In the context of conscience, this reason is practical and requires careful judgement or individual circumstances
      • Aquinas’ notion of practica ratio is the use of reason in practice
        • It is always situational
    • Prudence
      • Aquinas believed that one size does not fit all situations
      • Prudence involves 3 intellectual skills
        • Understanding
        • Judgement
        • Good Deliberation
        • We should use judgement to choose what we ought to do in each situation
    • Synderesis
      • Natural inclination to do good and avoid evil which applies to everyone and is part of God’s wil
        • An action can never be wrong if you wish to do good and avoid evil
      • Just because we seek to do good and avoid evil does not always lead to right action
    • Moral Responsibility
      • Aquinas considered two factors that might excuse someone from being blamed for an action
        • Ignorance
        • Lack of choice
      • Furthermore, to commit a sin, one needs full knowledge and full consent
    • Vincible and Invincible Ignorance
      • Vincibily Ignorant
        • Aquinas said that if someone is vincibily ignorant they are blameworthy because it is avoidable and correctable
          • Like drunk driving
      • Invincibly Ignorant
        • Invincible ignorance is something that we couldn’t possibly know - like the consequences of all our actions
          • Like a child doing something wrong
      • Aquinas and Aristotle thought that ignorance is forgivable and should not be punishable
    • Criticisms of Aquinas
      • Does not account for the extent to which our moral reasoning is influenced by our upbringing and the society that we live in
      • Some disagree that conscience is the mind making decisions but that it comes directly from God
    • Similar Views
      • St. Augustine's views about conscience also involved God
        • Augustine believed that conscience is the direct voice of God
          • Whereas Aquinas saw conscience as reasoned not intuitive


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