To what extent is conscience vital when making moral decisions?

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To what extent is conscience vital when making moral decisions?

Introduction.

Conscience is a vital factor however it should not be the sole guide. It should be paired with reason also.

Main Body.

Butler, conscience guides the 2 main influences on humans; self love and benevolence. The conscience is based on moral reason which is innate and god-given. It is not the voice of God but it is a moral judge that can not be mistaken.However a moral judge implies that it works before an event which seems odd when the conscience often works backwards- guilt comes after an event. It also gives a judgement that can not be mistaken when surely people have follwed their conscience and acted immorally. E.g. Hitler, could have acted out of his conscience to make society greater yet he acted hugely immorally. 

Newman thought that conscience had the ultimate authority. Conscience is innate and the voice of God. The Yorkshire Ripper killed 13 prostitutes as he thought that God had told him to do so. Surely God would not tell him to do this. Newman believed in a fake conscience. It could be argued that The Yorkshire Ripper's conscience was not developped properly and so developped by society (or ill mental health) that lead to it telling him to do an  immoral act-a delusionned version of what God is saying. Thus I think this shows that the conscience although very important should not be solely relied upon, it is too easy to influence. When making moral decisions one should apply reason and common sense.

Aquinas believed that conscience is innate. Humans are created with 'recta ratio' of basic moral principles. A moral actis decided upon through the application of three things. The Synderesis is the innate awareness of moral right and wrong. Prudence

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