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 ?
We must affect our country as our parents, And if at any time we alienate Out love or industry from doing it honor, We must respect effects and teach the soul Matter of conscience and religion, And not desire of rule or benefit.
Let all thy converse be sincere, Thy conscience as the noonday clear; For God's all-seeing eye surveys Thy secret thoughts, thy works and ways.
Nothing is more remarkable than the various deceptions by which guilt conceals itself from the perpetrator's conscience, and oftenest, perhaps, by the splendor of its garments.
Now that the job had been thrust on him he did not propose to relinquish it; and, to guard against the possibility, he saw that he must reassure the unimaginative old man who was the legal conscience of the Mingotts.
Sin, seen from the thought, is a diminution, or less: seen from the conscience or will, it is pravity or bad.
A common and natural result of an undue respect for law is, that you may see a file of soldiers, colonel, captain, corporal, privates, powder-monkeys, and all, marching in admirable order over hill and dale to the wars, against their wills, ay, against their common sense and consciences, which makes it very steep marching indeed, and produces a palpitation of the heart.
But next morning--for his conscience was one of those persistent consciences--he began to have doubts again.
Cousin Hepzibah," said the Judge, with an impressive earnestness of manner, which grew even to tearful pathos as he proceeded, "is it possible that you do not perceive how unjust, how unkind, how unchristian, is this constant, this long-continued bitterness against me, for a part which I was constrained by duty and conscience, by the force of law, and at my own peril, to act?
But look ye, the only real owner of anything is its commander; and hark ye, my conscience is in this ship's keel.
Well, a man who gets rich by that trade may be all very well in some ways, but he is blind as to what workingmen want; I could not in my conscience send him up to make the laws.
Tom's fearful secret and gnawing conscience dis- turbed his sleep for as much as a week after this; and at breakfast one morning Sid said:
Her manners gave some re-assurance to Edward, and he had courage enough to sit down; but his embarrassment still exceeded that of the ladies in a proportion, which the case rendered reasonable, though his sex might make it rare; for his heart had not the indifference of Lucy's, nor could his conscience have quite the ease of Elinor's.