Different Non-religious views about the nature of the Conscience

  • Created by: YasirYY
  • Created on: 27-08-18 17:04

Examine differing views of the conscience, religious, non-religious and about the nature of the conscience.

Lawrence Kohlbergargues that the conscience is a behaviour developed through social interaction. This is a non-religious view of the conscience as he notes six stages of moral development they must be followed in sequence to shape a person’s conscience in 3 levels: pre-conventional, conventional and post conventional. From this he argues that the final stage (post conventional) is one where a person’s conscience is individualised, and moral principles are universalised. Kohlberg argues that going against the conscience leads to feelings of guilt and stresses the development of the conscience should occur through encountering dilemmas. A way in which Kohlberg illustrates the development of the conscience is through Heinz’s dilemma:

Heinz dilemma is a man (Heinz) having to steal medicine for his dying wife because the doctor who has the medicine is charging a higher price than what it costs to make and a higher price than Heinz can afford. Kohlberg isn’t viewing what the participant thinks Heinz should do but rather the form of their response thought he six stages of moral development, using moral reasoning and decision and worked out in social contexts we can see the conscience developing and deciding. Can be criticised as some argue conscience is an intuitive gut feeling rather than moral reasoning and development of Kohlberg.

Sigmund Freud rejects conscience as being God-given or even developed through social interacts but rather is psychologically created to stop ourselves from carrying out our base desires. Freud does not believe in a soul but rather that we feel conscience through our guilt and does this by splitting up the conscience into three parts.

 Id, Ego, Super-Ego.  The Id is the physical base urge in our mind that deals with passions and desires such as Thanatos, the instinct for aggression, violence and death. The Superego is the controlling/restraining self which is initially a blank slate at birth but has moral commands and restrictions written upon it but others as we grow to learn and understand to the…


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