Conscience, casuistry, and moral decision: Some historical perspectives

Journal of Chinese Philosophy 2 (1):41-58 (1974)
Abstract
The body of this paper is devoted to tracing out some aspects of the development of the idea of conscience in the Church of England in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. Surely, it may seem, a subject of limited interest to the readers of this journal! Yet I hope they will find otherwise. I chose to describe this phase of the history of conscience in the West because it illustrates a decisive shift in ideas about conscience which has occurred in many Western cultures besides England's: the belief that the individual ought in many cases to seek the aid of others in forming his moral judgments gives way to the belief that he ought to be self‐reliant in such matters. A knowledge of this shift can advance the philosophical understanding of the idea of conscience and the work to be done in the comparative study of conscience ‘East‘and ‘West.'
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