Conscience (OCR exam board)

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Conscience (OCR exam board)

  1. 1. ConscienceConscience
  2. 2. AugustineAugustine • Voice of God speaking to usVoice of God speaking to us • Considered most seriouslyConsidered most seriously • ““See God as your witness.”See God as your witness.” • Intuitionist approachIntuitionist approach • People are able to sense right and wrongPeople are able to sense right and wrong because God reveals it to us personally.because God reveals it to us personally.
  3. 3. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274)Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) Classic definitionClassic definition • Grounded in hisGrounded in his Natural LawNatural Law philosophyphilosophy • Humans created with ‘recta ratio’ (right reason) of basicHumans created with ‘recta ratio’ (right reason) of basic moral principlesmoral principles • This is ‘synderesis’This is ‘synderesis’ • Conscientia= applying reason to particular questions ofConscientia= applying reason to particular questions of right and wrongright and wrong • Rationalist ApproachRationalist Approach ““The mind of manThe mind of man making moralmaking moral judgements”judgements”
  4. 4. An example:An example: • Major premise (synderesis)- all evil must be avoidedMajor premise (synderesis)- all evil must be avoided • Minor premise (reason)- murder is evilMinor premise (reason)- murder is evil • Conclusion (conscientia)- murder must be avoidedConclusion (conscientia)- murder must be avoided • Therefore- conscience can make decisionsTherefore- conscience can make decisions • The synderesis rule – always follow good and avoid evilThe synderesis rule – always follow good and avoid evil Haring points out, this is not an impersonal/ intellectual ability, but recognises the uniqueness of the individual
  5. 5. • Conscience can be mistaken… Apparent goods followedConscience can be mistaken… Apparent goods followed not Real goodsnot Real goods • Therefore, conscience is fallible (not perfect)Therefore, conscience is fallible (not perfect) • Acting according to conscience is not a guarantee ofActing according to conscience is not a guarantee of right action, but it is a guarantee of moral blamelessnessright action, but it is a guarantee of moral blamelessness • Example: “If a mistaken reasonExample: “If a mistaken reason bids a man to sleep with anotherbids a man to sleep with another man’s wife, to do this will be evilman’s wife, to do this will be evil based on ignorance of divinebased on ignorance of divine law he ought to know; but if thelaw he ought to know; but if the misjudgement is occasioned bymisjudgement is occasioned by thinking the woman really is histhinking the woman really is his own wife and she wants him,own wife and she wants him, then his will is free from fault.”then his will is free from fault.”
  6. 6. • But following conscience is stillBut following conscience is still absolutelyabsolutely necessarynecessary • God given us ability to reason (distinguishGod given us ability to reason (distinguish between right and wrong)between right and wrong) • To ignore reason is “same as dismissingTo ignore reason is “same as dismissing the command of God” = always wrongthe command of God” = always wrong • Conscience is the ultimate moral authorityConscience is the ultimate moral authority for the individualfor the individual • Note: you can make links to Aquinas’Note: you can make links to Aquinas’ natural law as well (reason gift from God,natural law as well (reason gift from God, apparent and real goods etc.).apparent and real goods etc.).
  7. 7. EvaluationEvaluation Highly influential view- supported by CatholicHighly influential view- supported by Catholic ChurchChurch Explains why conscience can sometimes beExplains why conscience can sometimes be incorrect: wrong use of reason – followingincorrect: wrong use of reason – following apparent goodsapparent goods Clear set authority/guidance – supported byClear set authority/guidance – supported by BibleBible Everyone can experience reasonEveryone can experience reason Included knowledge and reasoning as well asIncluded knowledge and reasoning as well as religion so everyone can apply it.religion so everyone can apply it.
  8. 8. XX Some acts can never be morally blameless:Some acts can never be morally blameless: acts may still break the law entitle punishmentacts may still break the law entitle punishment – regardless of right intention/ following– regardless of right intention/ following conscience.conscience. XX Assumes good and evil are the same forAssumes good and evil are the same for everyoneeveryone XX What happens if you don’t believe in God?What happens if you don’t believe in God? XX Assumes no emotion is expressedAssumes no emotion is expressed XX Are humans really that rationalAre humans really that rational XX Can conscience conflict with reason? WhichCan conscience conflict with reason? Which one do you follow in an ethical decision?one do you follow in an ethical decision?
  9. 9. Joseph ButlerJoseph Butler • Central to our humanity-essential part of being humanCentral to our humanity-essential part of being human • Separates us from animalsSeparates us from animals • Like Aquinas, it is what we use to judge an action goodLike Aquinas, it is what we use to judge an action good or bador bad • Harmonising self love and benevolenceHarmonising self love and benevolence • Conscience must be obeyed = happy lifeConscience must be obeyed = happy life • Valued process of reflectionValued process of reflection • Corrupt conscience through self deception.Corrupt conscience through self deception. “There is a principle of reflection in men by which they distinguish between approval and disapproval of their own actions…this principle in man…is conscience” (1726)
  10. 10. • Automatic and authoritative in the way itAutomatic and authoritative in the way it operatesoperates • It “magisterially exerts itself”It “magisterially exerts itself” spontaneously “without being consulted”spontaneously “without being consulted” • Has the final say in moral choices-governsHas the final say in moral choices-governs and orders other aspects of human natureand orders other aspects of human nature • Person’s God-given guide to right conductPerson’s God-given guide to right conduct • Therefore should always be followedTherefore should always be followed • It is “our natural guide, the guide assignedIt is “our natural guide, the guide assigned to us by the Author of our nature”to us by the Author of our nature”
  11. 11. EvaluationEvaluation Intuitionism does ring true for many. Emphasis isIntuitionism does ring true for many. Emphasis is not on reason but on instinctnot on reason but on instinct XX Doesn’t allow for conscience to be wrongDoesn’t allow for conscience to be wrong (fallible) unlike Aquinas’ view.(fallible) unlike Aquinas’ view. XX Is conscience something peopleIs conscience something people allall havehave experience of? And do people have theexperience of? And do people have the samesame experience of it?experience of it? XX What about when two people have opposingWhat about when two people have opposing ‘intuitions’ about a moral matter?‘intuitions’ about a moral matter?
  12. 12. John Henry NewmanJohn Henry Newman • Interested in studying human knowledge • Humans do not use scientific reasoning and logic all the time • We know what is right and wrong through Illative Sense -feelings of guilt and responsibility • “we feel responsibility, are ashamed…this implies that there is one to whom we are responsible, before whom we are ashamed, whose claims upon us we fear.” • Rather than through use of reason/ conditioning • Our conscience is the ‘Voice of the Lawgiver’ • Conscience is the messenger from God.
  13. 13. EvaluationEvaluation  Emphasises the importance of feelings and how theseEmphasises the importance of feelings and how these feelings e.g. of guilt are linked in with consciencefeelings e.g. of guilt are linked in with conscience  Emphasises importance of taking responsibility for ourEmphasises importance of taking responsibility for our actionsactions  Understands that conscience is based on more than justUnderstands that conscience is based on more than just reason and can involve intuitionsreason and can involve intuitions XX What happens if you do not believe in God? Do you notWhat happens if you do not believe in God? Do you not hear the voice?hear the voice? XX Can the voice be ignored? Or will this causeCan the voice be ignored? Or will this cause punishment?punishment? XX What happens to human freewill if God is constantlyWhat happens to human freewill if God is constantly telling us what to do?telling us what to do?
  14. 14. Sigmund FreudSigmund Freud • Theory of mind: PsychoanalysisTheory of mind: Psychoanalysis • Psychodynamics of the mind-Psychodynamics of the mind- specific workings of the mind/specific workings of the mind/ conflictsconflicts • Id- pleasure principleId- pleasure principle • Ego- reality principleEgo- reality principle • Superego- moral principle-Superego- moral principle- controlling self- imposing rules oncontrolling self- imposing rules on the id. Partly unconscious.the id. Partly unconscious. • Freud saw conscience asFreud saw conscience as an aspect of the superegoan aspect of the superego • “…“…observes the ego, gives itobserves the ego, gives it orders, judges it and threatens itorders, judges it and threatens it with punishment, exactly like thewith punishment, exactly like the parents whose place it hasparents whose place it has taken” (1933)taken” (1933)
  15. 15. How does the superegoHow does the superego develop?develop? • Id, ego and superego develop in that orderId, ego and superego develop in that order • part of a complex developmental process from birth to maturitypart of a complex developmental process from birth to maturity • Oral (0-1)Oral (0-1) • Anal (1-3)Anal (1-3) • Phallic (3-5/6) (Crucial for development of superego - Oedipus/Phallic (3-5/6) (Crucial for development of superego - Oedipus/ Electra complexes occur)Electra complexes occur) • Latency (5/6- puberty)Latency (5/6- puberty) • Genital (puberty-maturity)Genital (puberty-maturity) • Sequence is biologically determined but also affected by others:Sequence is biologically determined but also affected by others: especially parents - natureespecially parents - nature andand nurturenurture • Fixation can occur at any stageFixation can occur at any stage
  16. 16. EvaluationEvaluation  Importance of childhood in moral developmentImportance of childhood in moral development  Role of parentsRole of parents XX Ignores later life experiencesIgnores later life experiences XX Is conscience/ Morality unconscious – what about freewillIs conscience/ Morality unconscious – what about freewill – do we not have more control over it?– do we not have more control over it? XX People will find this development of conscience hard toPeople will find this development of conscience hard to believe as it does not fit with our experience ofbelieve as it does not fit with our experience of conscience?conscience? XX Poor methodologyPoor methodology XX No proof of Oedipus/ Electra complexesNo proof of Oedipus/ Electra complexes XX No reference to God…No reference to God… Unfalsifiable?Unfalsifiable?
  17. 17. Jean PiagetJean Piaget • Heteronomous moralityHeteronomous morality - (5-9) child looks beyond self for moral- (5-9) child looks beyond self for moral authority/ rules must be obeyed/ rules set down by higher authority/authority/ rules must be obeyed/ rules set down by higher authority/ immoral acts punishedimmoral acts punished • Autonomous moralityAutonomous morality (10+) personal code of conduct develops(10+) personal code of conduct develops based on social perceptions/ motive more important andbased on social perceptions/ motive more important and punishments in proportion with actionspunishments in proportion with actions • Most adults use mixture of two- moving more to autonomous levelMost adults use mixture of two- moving more to autonomous level when less dependent on views of otherswhen less dependent on views of others • Most comprehensive theory of intellectual (cognitive)Most comprehensive theory of intellectual (cognitive) developmental psychologydevelopmental psychology • Child developmentChild development • Proposed a universal series of stages throughoutProposed a universal series of stages throughout childhoodchildhood • Moral sense develops alongside other cognitive abilitiesMoral sense develops alongside other cognitive abilities • Marbles gameMarbles game
  18. 18. EvaluationEvaluation  Supported by Kohlberg: 6 stages of moral development.Supported by Kohlberg: 6 stages of moral development. From behaving in a socially acceptable way (told to doFrom behaving in a socially acceptable way (told to do so by authority/ want approval) to keeping the law, toso by authority/ want approval) to keeping the law, to caring for others and finally to respect for universalcaring for others and finally to respect for universal principles.principles. • Kohlberg felt most adults don't move past keeping theKohlberg felt most adults don't move past keeping the lawlaw • Piaget and Kohlberg believe conscience is developedPiaget and Kohlberg believe conscience is developed through social interaction.through social interaction.  Easy to understand and observe through universallyEasy to understand and observe through universally applied stagesapplied stages  Allows for development of moral conscience fromAllows for development of moral conscience from following authority to becoming in control of ownfollowing authority to becoming in control of own morality.morality.
  19. 19. FrommFromm • Influenced by external authority: parents,Influenced by external authority: parents, teachers, church leadersteachers, church leaders • Apply rules and punishments for breakingApply rules and punishments for breaking themthem • These rules internalised by personThese rules internalised by person • Disobedience causes guilt = weakensDisobedience causes guilt = weakens our power = makes us submissive toour power = makes us submissive to authority.authority. • E.G Nazi GovernmentE.G Nazi Government • This is called Authoritarian Conscience.This is called Authoritarian Conscience. • The Humanistic Approach: healthierThe Humanistic Approach: healthier approach = assesses and evaluates ourapproach = assesses and evaluates our behaviourbehaviour • Its our real selfIts our real self • Lead to reach our full potentialLead to reach our full potential
  20. 20. EvaluationEvaluation • Many would support that conscience isMany would support that conscience is developed by authority figuresdeveloped by authority figures • Looks at humans reaching their fullLooks at humans reaching their full potential – positive applicationpotential – positive application X Scary thought that our conscience can beX Scary thought that our conscience can be manipulated in order to do wrong actsmanipulated in order to do wrong acts X What about freewill – are we allX What about freewill – are we all brainwashed by authority?brainwashed by authority?
  21. 21. Modern viewsModern views • Vincent MacNamaraVincent MacNamara: misleading to call: misleading to call conscience a voice much better to see it as anconscience a voice much better to see it as an attitude/ awareness.attitude/ awareness. • Richard GulaRichard Gula: conscience as a series of laws is: conscience as a series of laws is misleading. Conscience is about : vision andmisleading. Conscience is about : vision and choice. Conscience is seeing then respondingchoice. Conscience is seeing then responding through the choices we make.through the choices we make. • Timothy O’ ConnellTimothy O’ Connell: 3 parts of conscience: 3 parts of conscience 1.1. Personal responsibilityPersonal responsibility 2.2. Obligation to search out goodObligation to search out good 3.3. Judgment to follow what is good.Judgment to follow what is good. • Daniel Maguire:Daniel Maguire: agrees with O’ Connell also needagrees with O’ Connell also need imagination, humour and tragedy to consider whatimagination, humour and tragedy to consider what is the correct moral choice. More than humanis the correct moral choice. More than human
  22. 22. HTTPS://ITHINKTHEREFOREITHTTPS://ITHINKTHEREFOREIT If you would like further informationIf you would like further information please follow the link below to myplease follow the link below to my blog:blog:

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