conscience


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conscience,

sense of moral awareness or of right and wrong. The concept has been variously explained by moralists and philosophers. In the history of ethicsethics,
in philosophy, the study and evaluation of human conduct in the light of moral principles. Moral principles may be viewed either as the standard of conduct that individuals have constructed for themselves or as the body of obligations and duties that a particular society
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, the conscience has been looked upon as the will of a divine power expressing itself in man's judgments, an innate sense of right and wrong resulting from man's unity with the universe, an inherited intuitive sense evolved in the long history of the human race, and a set of values derived from the experience of the individual. Psychologists also differ in their analyses of the nature of conscience. It is variously believed to be an expression of values differing from other expressions of value only in the subject matter involved, a feeling of guilt for known or unknown actions done or not done, the manifestation of a special set of values introjected from the example and instruction of parents and teachers, and the value structure that essentially defines the personality of the individual. As a practical matter, the consciences of different people within a society or from different societies may vary widely.

conscience

a persons sense of right and wrong which constrains behaviour and causes feelings of guilt if its demands are not met. These moral strictures are learnt through SOCIALIZATION and therefore vary from person to person and culture to culture. The most important influence is that of the parents, who set standards for their child's behaviour both by example and by establishing rules, and who enforce the required behaviour by a system of rewards and punishments (see CONDITIONING). Parental and societal standards thus become internalized as the conscience.

FREUD's theory is particularly specific about the formation of the conscience, which he labels the SUPEREGO. This develops through IDENTIFICATION with the same sex parent and is essentially the child's idealization of the parent's moral values.

This emphasis on the parental and societal role may be considered limited by those who regard moral judgements as absolute. This view would suggest an innate moral sense and is particularly expressed in religion and mysticism. Compare COLLECTIVE CONSCIENCE.

Conscience

 

an ethical category that refers to the ability to exercise moral self-control, to formulate moral obligations independently and to demand of oneself their fulfillment, and to evaluate one’s actions.

A manifestation of the moral consciousness of the individual, conscience is revealed in rational awareness of the moral meaning of one’s actions and in emotions, such as “the gnawings of conscience.” Idealist ethics views conscience as the voice of the “inner self,” a manifestation of the “moral sense” inherent in everyone. Marxist-Leninist ethics demonstrates the social and historical character of conscience.

conscience

[′kän·chəns]
(psychology)
The moral, self-critical part of oneself wherein have developed, and reside, standards of behavior and performance and value judgments.

Conscience

Aidos
ancient Greek personification of conscience. [Gk. Myth.: Zimmerman, 14]
Clamence
haunted by guilt because he failed to respond when aware that a girl had jumped or fallen into the Seine. [Fr. Lit.: Camus The Fall]
Cricket, Jiminy
dapper mite guides the callow Pinocchio. [Am. Cinema: Pinocchio in Disney Films, 32–37]
Elder Statesman, The
Lord Claverton ponders the shame of his past, personified by ghosts of his victims. [Br. Drama: T. S. Eliot The Elder Statesman in Magill IV, 262]
Godunov, Boris
Tsar suffers pangs of conscience for having murdered the Tsarevitch in order to seize the throne. [Russ. Drama and Opera: Boris Godunov]
Karamazov, Ivan
guilt for wishing his father’s death culminates in hallucinatory conversations with the Devil. [Russ. Lit.: Dostoevsky The Brothers Karamazov]
Solness, Halyard
plagued by awareness of his past ruthlessness and the guilt of defying God’s will. [Nor. Drama: Ibsen The Master Builder in Magill II, 643]
Valdes and Cornelius
Good Angel and Evil Angel; symbolize Faustus’s inner conflict. [Br. Lit.: Doctor Faustus]
Wilson, William
his Doppelganger irrupts at occasions of duplicity. [Am. Lit.: “William Wilson” in Portable Poe, 57–82]

conscience

a. the sense of right and wrong that governs a person's thoughts and actions
b. regulation of one's actions in conformity to this sense
c. a supposed universal faculty of moral insight
References in classic literature ?
They built eleven missionary establishments in the various valleys of the peninsula, which formed rallying places for the surrounding savages, where they gathered together as sheep into the fold, and surrendered themselves and their consciences into the hands of these spiritual pastors.
Still her conscience was so tender that she even doubted the propriety of accepting her old wages were she really incompetent to earn them.
Only I think it 'ud be better if their consciences 'ud let 'em stay quiet i' the church-- there's a deal to be learnt there.
But I appeal to you, gentlemen; this affair took place in 1626, at a period, happily for yourselves, known to you by tradition only, at a period when love was not over scrupulous, when consciences did not distill, as in the present day, poison and bitterness.
A dance, for which her partner came to seek her, put an end to her discourse with her future directeur de conscience, but the next evening Monsieur de Jobert came to see Helene when she was alone, and after that often came again.
When literature becomes a duty it ceases to be a passion, and all the schoolmastering in the world, solemnly addressed to the conscience, cannot make the fact otherwise.
My conscience would never permit me to eat so tough a morsel as the Real Horse.
Davy took a frantic gulp of water and swallowed it and the last protest of conscience together.
After some hesitation, she decided on leaving it to her conscience to answer that question.
I don't b'lieve you'd eat a baby if you lost your Conscience.
But Conscience would not have her, for he knew that she was wicked.
But I've never eaten any, because my conscience tells me it is wrong.