While much has been made of the similarities between the work of Nietzsche and Freud, insufficient attention has been paid to their differences. Even where they have been noted, the degree of these differences, which sometimes approaches direct opposition, has often been underestimated. In the following essay, I will suggest that on the topic of conscience Nietzsche and Freud have radically opposed views, with profoundly different moral consequences. Despite superficial similarities, Nietzsche’s conception of conscience is opposed to that (...) of Freud in almost every conceivable way. For Freud, conscience is primarily associated with bad will, repression, subordination to social prohibition, and the feeling of guilt. For Nietzsche, conscience is primarily related to affirmation, memory, individual sovereignty, and the feelings of pride and power. To be sure, Freudian “bad conscience” has its parallel in Nietzsche’s philosophy—but only as a modality of conscience, not as its foundation. Freudian conscience is, on the contrary, an essentially bad conscience. (shrink)
Conscience is oft-referred to yet not understood. This text develops a theory of cognition around a model of conscience, the ACTWith model. It represents a synthesis of results from contemporary neuroscience with traditional philosophy, building from Jamesian insights into the emergence of the self to narrative identity, all the while motivated by a single mechanism as represented in the ACTWith model. Emphasis is placed on clarifying historical expressions and demonstrations of conscience - Socrates, Heidegger, Kant, M.L. King (...) - in light of the ACTWith model, while at once turning these resources to developing the basic architecture. In the end, this text aims to enrich moral theory by improving our understanding of moral cognition, while at once providing a useful tool in everyday moral practice and self-development. (shrink)
A growing number of medical professionals claim a right of conscience, a right to refuse to perform any professional duty they deem immoral—and to do so with impunity. We argue that professionals do not have the unqualified right of conscience. At most they have a highly qualified right. We focus on the claims of pharmacists, since they are the professionals most commonly claiming this right.
Conscience and Corporate Culture advances the constructive dialogue on a moral conscience for corporations. Written for educators in the field of business ethics and practicing corporate executives, the book serves as a platform on a subject profoundly difficult and timely. Written from the unique vantage point of an author who is a philosopher, professor of business administration, and a corporate consultant A vital resource for both educators in the field of business ethics and practicing corporate executives Forwards the (...) constructive dialogue on a moral conscience for corporations Offers a philosophical and practical approach to considering business ethics. (shrink)
This book shows that civil disobedience is generally more defensible than private conscientious objection. -/- Part I explores the morality of conviction and conscience. Each of these concepts informs a distinct argument for civil disobedience. The conviction argument begins with the communicative principle of conscientiousness. According to this principle, having a conscientious moral conviction means not just acting consistently with our beliefs and judging ourselves and others by a common moral standard. It also means not seeking to evade the (...) consequences of our beliefs and being willing to communicate to them to others. The conviction argument shows that, as a constrained, communicative practice, civil disobedience has a better claim than private objection does to the protections that liberal societies give to conscientious dissent. This view reverses the standard liberal picture which sees private 'conscientious' objection as a modest act of personal belief and civil disobedience as a strategic, undemocratic act whose costs are only sometimes worth bearing. -/- The conscience argument is narrower and shows that genuinely morally responsive civil disobedience honours the best of our moral responsibilities and is protected by a duty-based moral right of conscience. -/- Part II translates the conviction argument and conscience argument into two legal defences. The first is a demands-of-conviction defence. The second is a necessity defence. Both of these defences apply more readily to civil disobedience than to private disobedience. Part II also examines lawful punishment, showing that, even when punishment is justifiable, civil disobedients have a moral right not to be punished. (shrink)
This examination of a fundamental but often neglected aspect of the intellectual history of early modern Europe brings together philosophers, historians and political theorists from Great Britain, Canada, the United States, Australia, France and Germany. Despite the diversity of disciplines and national traditions represented, the individual contributions show a remarkable convergence around three themes: changes in the modes of moral education in early modern Europe, the emergence of new relations between conscience and law (particularly the law of the state), (...) and the shared continuities and discontinuities of both Roman Catholic and Protestant moral culture in relation to their medieval past. (shrink)
This book presents in translation writings by six medieval philosophers which bear on the subject of conscience. Conscience, which can be considered both as a topic in the philosophy of mind and a topic in ethics, has been unduly neglected in modern philosophy, where a prevailing belief in the autonomy of ethics leaves it no natural place. It was, however, a standard subject for a treatise in medieval philosophy. Three introductory translations here, from Jerome, Augustine and Peter Lombard, (...) present the loci classici on which subsequent discussions drew; there follows the first complete treatise on conscience, by Philip the Chancellor, while the two remaining translations, from Bonaventure and Aquinas, have been chosen as outstanding examples of the two main approaches which crystallised during the thirteenth century. (shrink)
ch. 1. Conscience--the subjective norm of morality -- ch. 2. Conscience and law -- ch. 3. Relationship between conscience and law -- ch. 4. Holy Scipture on the nature of conscience -- ch. 5. Freedom and commitment of conscience -- ch. 6. The African and conscience with particular reference to the Igbos of Nigeria -- ch. 7. Igbo moral conscience in the light of cross-cultural education: Western civilisation and christianity.
Moral moments -- The neurotic and the penitent -- True, false, and feigned penance -- Fame without conscience -- Cain and conscience -- Feminine paradoxes -- Sincere hypocrisy -- The poetical consience -- Envoi : spiritual sophistry.
In an era of confessional conflict, the conscience served as a powerful mediator between God and man, directing and judging moral actions. This work aims to convey the breadth of the conscience's jurisdiction, analyzing its impact upon a variety of important aspects of early modern society: political allegiance the genre of "advice to princes" religious conformity slavery the regulation of sexual behavior gender roles and the intellectual methods of scientists.
The recent confirmation of the constitutionality of the Obama administration’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) by the US Supreme Court has brought to the fore long-standing debates over individual liberty and religious freedom. Advocates of personal liberty are often critical, particularly in the USA, of public health measures which they deem to be overly restrictive of personal choice. In addition to the alleged restrictions of individual freedom of choice when it comes to the question of whether or not (...) to purchase health insurance, opponents to the PPACA also argue that certain requirements of the Act violate the right to freedom of conscience by mandating support for services deemed immoral by religious groups. These issues continue the long running debate surrounding the demands of religious groups for special consideration in the realm of health care provision. In this paper I examine the requirements of the PPACA, and the impacts that religious, and other ideological, exemptions can have on public health, and argue that the exemptions provided for by the PPACA do not in fact impose unreasonable restrictions on religious freedom, but rather concede too much and in so doing endanger public health and some important individual liberties. (shrink)
Father Williams explains how the conscience is formed through our training and experiences and informed by the Holy Spirit, making it an essential tool for daily living. He uses familiar and surprising characters to illustrate the positive choices conscience can direct--and the disaster that results when a conscience is undeveloped or ignored. Questions he tackles include "Is it more important to be smart or good?""Is there a morally right thing to do in every situation?" and "Is the (...) Christian moral life an exciting adventure, or a necessary burden?" Rich, provocative, and practical for everyday decision making, KNOWING RIGHT FROM WRONG is a must-read for all who hunger for personal holiness. (shrink)
Ethical dualists hold that we have good reason to pursue our own happiness and good reason to pursue moral goodness. It would seem that there is a potential conflict here. On the other hand there have been those who deny even the possibility of conflict, whether or not there is a God and an afterlife. Rawls seems to say, or hint, that this was Butlers’ view, and Kant, according to at least one person, argued that there cannot be conflict here. (...) I think the conflict is sometimes real, and that ‘practical reason’ does not resolve it. (shrink)
out a visitation and a thorough assessment of his diocese. His predecessor (or rather his friend Benson, the bishop of Gloucester, who during Edward Chandler's decline had managed Durham's affairs) had kept the deanery records in good ...
Psychopathy is best regarded as a complex family of disorders. The upside is that this family can be tightly related along identifiable common dimensions. Characteristic marks of psychopaths include a lack of guilt and remorse for paradigm case immoral actions, leading to the common conception of psychopathy rooted in affective disfunctions. An adequate portrait of psychopathy is much more complicated, however. Though some neural regions and corresponding functions are commonly indicated, they range across those responsible for action planning and learning, (...) high-level processing as well as emotional processes – amygdala, insula, anterior cingulate cortex, prefrontal cortex and hippocampus amongst them. Accordingly, a complete fine-grained map of all neural mechanisms responsible for psychopathy has not been realized, and even if it were, such a map would have limited utility outside of the context of surgical or chemical intervention, The utility of this neural-level understanding of psychopathy is further limited by the fact that it is only applicable in the clinical correction of individual subjects after those subjects are positively identified as belonging to the diverse family of psychopaths. On the other hand, an information processing model of moral cognition, fully consistent with the neurology and psychology of psychopathy, provides a base for wider-ranging applications. In this chapter, relevant research is reviewed. The historical progression of moral-psychological accounts of psychopathy and antisocial personality is briefly recounted. Neural mechanisms, including the roles of hormones and brain structures are correlated. From this review, common dimensions are rendered, resulting in a simple account suitable to an information processing model of moral/immoral/amoral psychology. Then, this model is articulated. The theoretical and practical implications for such a feasible working model of psychopathic personalities are assessed. One the theoretical front, it permits the direct testing of individual, as well as a common currency for the comparative evaluation and integration of multiple, moral, psychological, and neurological theories of psychopathy. On the practical front, it permits experimental designs and simulations – both virtual and actual - seeking greater resolution on the social effects of psychopaths when they become active agents in multi-agent systems, as leaders of families, corporations, and governments. From the results of such experiments, psychopathic influences on individuals and institutions become identifiable, and cash-value for seemingly ungrounded folk-psychological attributions of psychopathic policies, laws, and organizations can be drawn. Finally, this raises the possibility of directed modification of social-environmental factors (including at the meta-organizational level) reinforcing the development of psychopathic personalities in the first place, modifications which are also open to simulation and testing. (shrink)
In this paper1 I shall present not just the conscience of Huckleberry Finn but two others as well. One of them is the conscience of Heinrich Himmler. He became a Nazi in 1923; he served drably and quietly, but well, and was rewarded with increasing responsibility and power. At the peak of his career he held many offices and commands, of which the most powerful was that of leader of the S.S. - the principal police force of the (...) Nazi regime. In this capacity, Himmler commanded the whole concentration-camp system, and was responsible for the execution of the so-called ‘final solution of the Jewish problem’. It is important for my purposes that this piece of social engineering should be thought of not abstractly but in concrete terms of Jewish families being marched to what they think are bath-houses, to the accompaniment of loud-speaker renditions of extracts from The Merry Widow and Tales of Hoffman, there to be choked to death by poisonous gases. Altogether, Himmler succeeded in murdering about four and a half million of them, as well as several million gentiles, mainly Poles and Russians. The other conscience to be discussed is that of the Calvinist theologian and philosopher Jonathan Edwards. He lived in the first half of the eighteenth century, and has a good claim to be considered America’s first serious and considerable philosophical thinker. He was for many years a widely-renowned preacher and Congregationalist minister in New England; in 1748 a dispute with his congregation led him to resign (he couldn’t accept their view that unbelievers should be admitted to the Lord’s Supper in the hope that it would convert them); for some years after that he worked as a missionary, preaching to Indians through an interpreter;, then in 1758 he accepted the presidency of what is now Princeton University, and within two months died from a smallpox inoculation. Along the way he wrote some first-rate philosophy: his book attacking the notion of free will is still sometimes read.. (shrink)
On a postcard to Franz Overbeck from January 4, 1888, Nietzsche makes some illuminating remarks with respect to the three treatises in his book On the Genealogy of Morality.2 Nietzsche says that, ‘for the sake of clarity, it was necessary artificially to isolate the different roots of that complex structure that is called morality. Each of these three treatises expresses a single primum mobile; a fourth and fifth are missing, as is even the most essential (‘the herd instinct’) – for (...) the time being, the latter had to be ignored, as too comprehensive, and the same holds for the ultimate summation of all those different elements and thus a final account of morality.’ Nietzsche also points out that each treatise makes a contribution to the genesis of Christianity and rejects an explanation of Christianity in terms of only one psychological category. The topics of the treatises are ‘good’ and ‘evil’ (first treatise), the ‘bad conscience’ (second), and the ‘ascetic ideal’ (third). The postcard suggests that Nietzsche discusses these topics separately because a joint treatment is too complicated, but that in reality, these ideas are inextricably intertwined, both with each other and with others that Nietzsche omits. Therefore, the three treatises should be regarded as parts of a unified theory and critique of morality. Nietzsche’s remarks on that postcard are important because in the Genealogy itself, he makes little effort to show the unity among the treatises. We shall return to this postcard repeatedly.3 The first treatise has attracted most scholarly attention, but much less work has been done on the second treatise, ‘ “Debts”, “Bad Conscience”, and Related Matters’. This is unfortunate, since it seems that, in Nietzsche’s own view, the central notion of the second treatise, namely, the bad conscience as a feeling of guilt, is a key element of Christian morality. Therefore, understanding Nietzsche’s treatment of this notion is essential to understanding his views on Christianity and the impact of the Christian heritage on non-religious moral philosophy.. (shrink)
The literature on conscience in medicine has paid little attention to what is meant by the word ‘conscience.’ This article distinguishes between retrospective and prospective conscience, distinguishes synderesis from conscience, and argues against intuitionist views of conscience. Conscience is defined as having two interrelated parts: (1) a commitment to morality itself; to acting and choosing morally according to the best of one’s ability, and (2) the activity of judging that an act one has done (...) or about which one is deliberating would violate that commitment. Tolerance is defined as mutual respect for conscience. A set of boundary conditions for justifiable respect for conscientious objection in medicine is proposed. (shrink)
With lost credibility, ratings, and circulation, journalism faces a crisis of conscience. One answer is participatory community journalism; journalists become activists on behalfofthe process of self-government. A veteran journalist and author of Agents of Power, Altschull questions the press's arrogance, its faith in objectivity, and its unvarying insistence on its First Amendment rights, and asks instead that the public interest be put ahead of the maximization of profit, that media help to mediate public issues, and that the public be (...) allowed to play a bigger role in the news decision making process. (shrink)
Conscience is the psychological faculty by which we aware of and respond to the moral character of our own actions. It is most commonly thought of as the source of pains we suffer as a result of doing what we believe is wrong --- the pains of guilt, or “pangs of conscience.” It may also be seen, more controversially, as the source of our knowledge of what is right and wrong, or as a motive for moral (...) conduct. Thus a person who is motivated to act on principle is said to act “conscientiously.” These terms come from the Latin “conscientia,” a direct translation of the Greek “syneidesis.” This ranges in meaning from being aware of something (hence our “consciousness”) to “knowing something in common with” someone. Knowing something in common with someone can mean sharing his secret, and this puts you in a position to serve as a witness against him. Thus the term came to have a judicial use, to describe one who could bear witness. In certain contexts, “syneidesis” came to mean a state of knowing in common with oneself, and so of bearing witness against oneself. Although these terms appear in Stoic and Epicurean works, conscience did not receive extensive philosophical treatment until the Medieval period, when treatises on conscience became standard. Medieval philosophers distinguished two aspects of conscience, “conscientia” and “synderesis.” Roughly, “synderesis” (a technical term of uncertain origin) refers to the ineradicable and infallible basis of conscience in human nature, while “conscientia” refers to the more particular judgments we make about our actions. There are various ways of specifying the two ideas further. In Thomas Aquinas’s (1225-- 1274) account, which became standard, synderesis grasps the basic moral principles which are the first premises of practical reasoning, while conscientia is the conclusion, the act of judging that one ought to perform a particular action.. (shrink)
Modern professional behavior all too often fails to meet high standards of moral conduct. An important reason for this unfortunate state of affairs is the expansive self interest of the individual professional. The individual''s natural desire for his/her own success and pleasure goes unchecked by internal moral constraints. In this essay, I investigate this phenomenon using the psychoanalytic concepts of the ego ideal and superego. These concepts are used to explore the internal psychological dynamics that contribute to moral decision-making. The (...) contrasts between self interest and concern for others, selfishness and moral values, and moral conscience and social conformity are examined in Tolstoy''s study of the modern professional in The Death of Ivan Ilych. By reviewing Freud''s work on the moral conscience, particularly its complex inner structure and liabilities to dysfunction, and applying it to Tolstoy''s penetrating portrayal of Ivan Ilych''s personal and professional life, an understanding of the inner (emotional) foundation of moral character, its dependence on the past through the links between generations, and the need to integrate idealism with moral values is generated. Examples from Enron Corporation will be used throughout the paper to relate the analysis and discussion to contemporary business ethics problems. (shrink)
The ultimate aim of this essay is to suggest that conscience is a very important part of human psychology and of our moral point of view, not something that can be dismissed as merely ‘a part of Christian theology’. The essay begins with discussions of what might be regarded as the two most inﬂuential functional models of conscience, the classical Christian account of conscience and the Freudian account of conscience. Then, using some insights from these models, (...) and from some comparatively recent work in psychology and especially psychiatry, the author argues for a quite different model of conscience that might be called the personal integrity account of conscience. (shrink)
Philosophers have often posited a foundational calling voice, such that hearing its call constitutes subjects as responsive and responsible negotiators of normative claims. I give the name ldquo;transcendental conscience to that which speaks in this founding, constitutive voice. The role of transcendental conscience is not – or not merely – to normatively bind the subject, but to constitute the possibility of the subject's being bound by any particular, contentful normative claims in the first place. I explore the ontological (...) and temporal status of transcendental conscience, using Heidegger's account of conscience in Being and Time as my textual touchstone. I ask what performative structure the call of conscience might have that would enable it to constitute normative responsiveness, and I raise some temporal conundrums surrounding this structure. I argue that it is incoherent to attempt to give a literal, chronological account of the origin of normative grip and response. I suggest that we can best understand the founding calls of conscience, not as literal events occurring in regular time, but as events that can only show up retrospectively, as occurring in an ever-receding, unlocalizable past, and that these calls can only be figured mythically and metaphorically. Appropriating a Derridean term, I claim that the voice of transcendental conscience must be that of a lsquo;ghost, whose call binds us by haunting us – a haunting that is no less transcendentally necessary for its inability to be translated into a literal historical event. (shrink)
Though there exists a vast literature dealing with Hannah Arendt's thoughts on evil in general and Adolf Eichmann in particular, few attempts have been made to assess Arendt's position on evil by tracing its connection with her reflections on conscience. This essay examines the nature and significance of such a connection. Beginning with her doctoral dissertation on St Augustine and ending with her posthumously published studies in The Life of the Mind, Arendt's oeuvre exhibits strong thematic continuity: the triad (...) thinking-conscience-evil forms its most enduring core. A puzzling core, to be sure, considering the controversies triggered, especially regarding her notion of the 'banality of evil'. By placing the role of conscience at the very center of Arendt's lifelong reflections, this essay explores the - in many ways related - influence exerted by St Augustine and Heidegger. Heidegger's conception of conscience in Sein und Zeit is identified as a crucial source for understanding - so the claim holds - why Arendt found Heidegger's philosophy particularly wanting as regards the question of evil. Key Words: Arendt Augustine conscience evil Heidegger Socrates thinking. (shrink)
Following a discussion of some historical roots of conscience, we offer a systematized version of reflective equilibrium. Aiming at a comprehensive methodology for bioethical deliberation, we develop an expanded variant of reflective equilibrium, which we call ‘triangular reflective equilibrium’ and which incorporates insights from hermeneutics, critical theory and narrative ethics.We focus on a few distinctions, mainly between methods of justification in ethics and the social practice of bioethical deliberation, between coherence in ethical reasoning, personal integrity and consensus formation, and (...) between political and moral deliberation.The ideal of deliberation is explicated as a sharing of conscience within a special commitment to sincerity and openness to persuasion. Personal growth in wisdom is an indirect by-product of the continuous practice of moral deliberation. This is explicated in the light of Sternberg's balance theory of wisdom and in the context of medicine as a profession embodying altruistic responsibilities of care in democratic and pluralistic societies. (shrink)
I reconstruct Kant's derivation of the Categorical Imperative (CI) as an argument that deduces what the voice of conscience must say from how it must sound - that is, from the authority that is metaphorically attributed to conscience in the form of a resounding voice. The idea of imagining the CI as the voice of conscience comes from Freud; and the present reconstruction is part of a larger project that aims to reconcile Kant's moral psychology with Freud's (...) theory of moral development. As I reconstruct it, Kant's argument yields an imperative commanding us to act for reasons whose validity we can consistently will to be common knowledge among all agents. Universalizing a maxim thus turns out to consist in willing, not that there be some universally quantified rule of conduct, but rather that a principle of practical reasoning be common knowledge - as a principle of reasoning ought to be. (shrink)
The purpose of this paper is to present the theoretical and philosophical assumptions of the Nursing Manifesto , written by three activist scholars whose objective was to promote emancipatory nursing research, practice, and education within the dialogue and praxis of social justice. Inspired by discussions with a number of nurse philosophers at the 2008 Knowledge Conference in Boston, two of the original Manifesto authors and two colleagues discussed the need to explicate emancipatory knowing as it emerged from the Manifesto . (...) Our analysis yielded an epistemological framework based on liberation principles to advance praxis in the discipline of nursing. This paper adds to what is already known on this topic, as there is not an explicit contribution to the literature of this specific Manifesto , its significance, and utility for the discipline. While each of us have written on emancipatory knowing and social justice in a variety of works, it is in this article that we identify, as a unit of knowledge production and as a direction towards praxis, a set of critical values that arose from the emancipatory conscience-ness and intention seen in the framework of the Nursing Manifesto. (shrink)
How does everyday, inauthentic Dasein dominated by das Man become authentic? The aim of this article is to answer this and other questions about Dasein's authenticity by carrying out an analysis of the 'call of conscience'. This analysis, in turn, provides insights about Dasein's possibility for ethical existence. We will see that even though there are some puzzling issues in Heidegger's explanation of Dasein in its everydayness and its authenticity, the Heideggerian Existential Analytic is not 'anti-ethical' as some have (...) claimed. We will also see that the Existential Analytic's commitment to the ontic raises doubts about Heidegger's claim that the Analytic is prior to any ethics and examine how reading Being and Time as a project of 'metontology' may dissolve these doubts. Finally, the paper offers a suggestion about the importance of 'authentic historicality' in a factical account of the moral life. (shrink)
IN PLACE OF AN ABSTRACT: I here report on my work-in-progress addressing Rousseau’s naturalistic account of human agency. In the first half of these notes I attempt to throw light on the distinctive character of Rousseau’s philosophical naturalism. I compare Rousseau’s naturalism both to that of his own contemporaries and to some of our own (§1), but argue that Rousseauian naturalism is better understood as a development of ancient forms of ethical naturalism, particularly as mediated by Seneca (§2). I then (...) turn to consider how Rousseau’s distinctive naturalistic commitments shape his treatment of the problem of self-consciousness, in particular with regard to the self-consciousness involved in action. I argue that Rousseau identifies two fundamental structures of self-consciousness essential to beings with natures like ours. The first is Rousseauian conscience, understood following the Stoics as a form of natural selfsentiment (§3); the second is associated with the distinctively human task of confession, understood as a form of self-judgment (§4). (shrink)
Abstract. Recent developments, both in the cognitive sciences and in world events, bring special emphasis to the study of morality. The cognitive sci- ences, spanning neurology, psychology, and computational intelligence, offer substantial advances in understanding the origins and purposes of morality. Meanwhile, world events urge the timely synthesis of these insights with tra- ditional accounts that can be easily assimilated and practically employed to augment moral judgment, both to solve current problems and to direct future action. The object of the (...) following paper is to present such a synthesis in the form of a model of moral cognition, the ACTWith model of conscience. The purpose of the model is twofold. One, the ACTWith model is intended to shed light on personal moral dispositions, and to provide a tool for actual human moral agents in the refinement of their moral lives. As such, it re- lies on the power of personal introspection, bolstered by the careful study of moral exemplars available to all persons in all cultures in the form of literary or religious figures, if not in the form of contemporary peers and especially leadership. Two, the ACTWith model is intended as a minimum architec- ture for fully functional artificial morality. As such, it is essentially amodal, implementation non-specific and is developed in the form of an information processing control system. There are given as few hard points in this sys- tem as necessary for moral function, and these are themselves taken from review of actual human cognitive processes, thereby intentionally capturing as closely as possible what is expected of moral action and reaction by hu- man beings. Only in satisfying these untutored intuitions should an artificial agent ever be properly regarded as moral, at least in the general population of existing moral agents. Thus, the ACTWith model is intended as a guide both for individual moral development and for the development of artificial moral agents as future technology permits. (shrink)
There were two prevailing sentiments in Europe after the Reformation: One opposing papal authority and one advocating individual freedom. This paper analyzes these two sentiments and finds that the concept of conscience is crucial in understanding them. The issue of conscience is about judging truth and good, and in initiating the Reformation, Martin Luther heavily appealed to his conscience while countering Catholic attacks. With the wide dispersal of the Reformation, Luther’s notion of conscience was well received (...) among his supporters throughout Europe. Descartes later transformed Luther’s conscience into an epistemological being (the cogito ), and argued that its existence was the only valid thing that survived his thorough skepticism — and as such is the foundation of human knowledge. Rousseau continued this line of thinking, which we call subjectivism, and re-employed the term conscience as a replacement for cogito , holding that conscience is the final authority in judging good and bad; that, as the starting point of human existence, it cannot be withheld from any human being; and that it therefore constitutes an inalienable human right. This paper argues that the Enlightenment was a subjectivist movement propelled by this conscience- cogito -conscience conceptualization, and that it sought to enlighten this inalienable conscience. (shrink)
The paper presents Aquinas’s account of conscience, and argues that key elements of this account are key elements too of Aristotle’s moral theory. The paper’s purpose is to encourage debate over conscience as not only a Stoic/Christian concept but one with deeper— and more widespread—roots in western ethical tradition.
Kant’s concept of conscience has been largely neglected by scholars and contemporary moral philosophers alike, as has his concept of “indirect” duty. Admittedly, neither of them is foundational within his ethical theory, but a correct account of both in their own right and in combination can shed some new light on Kant’s moral philosophy as a whole. In this paper, I first examine a key passage in which Kant systematically discusses the role of conscience, then give a systematic (...) account of “indirect” duties and the function of hypothetical imperatives in the course of their generation. I then turn to the possibility of moral error and the part “indirect” duty can play in its prevention. In conclusion, I try to show how clarifying the concept of “indirect” duty can help us to shed light on the nature of Kantian ethics as a whole. (shrink)
Through a Confucian critique of modern colonial politics and the failure of Western conscience in a number of historical and literary settings (including the Opium Wars, the Holocaust and the modern slavery), the article criticizes the illusory foundation and inexorable predicaments of modern imperialism. The goal of my investigation is to break open the normative authority of modern Western ideologies so as to initiate a new horizon for the hermeneutics of Confucianism and to suggest an alternative vision of humanity (...) and cosmopolitanism in Confucianism. (shrink)
There are widely differing accounts of Augustine's place in the early history of the notion of conscience. While some regard his contribution as groundbreaking, others consider that he only stressed interiority more than earlier authors. Starting with a contrast with Jerome, the present article aims at clarifying Augustine's specific contribution and the place of conscience in his moral thought.
Rudolf Bernet, Conscience et Existence. Perspectives Phénoménologiques , Coll. Epiméthée. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 2004, 299 pages. ISBN 2130541674 Content Type Journal Article DOI 10.1007/s10743-009-9065-7 Authors Pol Vandevelde, Marquette University Department of Philosophy Coughlin Hall P.O. Box 1881 Milwaukee WI 53201-1881 USA Journal Husserl Studies Online ISSN 1572-8501 Print ISSN 0167-9848 Journal Volume Volume 26 Journal Issue Volume 26, Number 1.
Is there a specifically "Hobbesian moment" in the extremely complex history of the idea of conscience? In order to answer this question and to understand why Hobbes's conception of conscience was so innovative, one needs to look at the materials he used to build his system, including the medieval doctrine of synderesis. The article examines the way this doctrine was both perpetuated and altered in Renaissance England.
This book analyzes the moral confusion of contemporary society, relating rival conceptions of morality with a wide variety of views about the nature and predicament of man. Mitchell argues that many secular thinkers possess a traditional "Christian" conscience which they find hard to defend in terms of an entirely secular world-view, but which is more in line with a Christian understanding of man.
This paper explores two different methods of reading Derridas own conscience that is, of raising the question of ethics and obligation in deconstruction. The two readings under discussion here are staged by Jean-Luc Nancy in his seminal essay The Free Voice of Man. In the first half of the paper, I engage in a reading of Nancys essay in which I seek not only to highlight Nancys double formulation of the place of ethics in deconstruction, but also to (...) re-mark the transition in Derridas writings from the priority of the question to an emphasis on a call that precedes the question. In order to further explore this displacement of the priority of the question, the second half of the essay takes up an analysis of Derridas employment of the motif of Viens (Come) in his essay On a Newly Arisen Apocalyptic Tone in Philosophy. I suggest that Viens should be read as Derridas formulation of: (1) another response, beyond questioning, to a call that precedes any question; (2) another thought of conscience and obligation; and (3) a thought of the trace of alterity at the very heart of conscience that signals the impossibility of any form of good conscience. Key Words: apocalypse call conscience ethics question Viens. (shrink)
My aim is to defend the conscience principle: One ought never to act against the dictates of one’s conscience. In the first part of this paper, I explain what I mean by “conscience” and “dictate of conscience,” and I show that the notion that the conscience principle is inherently anti-authoritarian or inherently fanatical is mistaken. In the second part, I argue that the existence of mistaken conscience does not reduce the conscience principle to (...) absurdity. In the third part, I present two arguments for the plausibility of that principle. (shrink)
At least some (perhaps the most serious) moral problems, public as well as private, concern the ways in which we should construe and specify the problems we face. The present paper, as the subtitle indicates, reexamines the conscience of Huckleberry Finn, which means both that I provide a close reading of key chapters of Mark Twain’s great novel and that I engage Jonathan Bennett’s well-known and oft-cited paper, “The Conscience of Huckleberry Finn.” Bennett tells us, early in his (...) paper, that an episode in chapter 16 of the novel “brilliantly illustrates how fiction can be instructive about real life.”1 I agree that fiction can teach us about life—though of course living beings must judge fiction’s .. (shrink)
I argue here that the centeredness of human experience as human is misrepresented by ecocentrists as identical with (or the cause of) human chauvinism, and that although centeredness describes an ineradicable feature of human consciousness, nothing necessarily follows from it other than what follows from any unique configuration of capacities and limitations. Appealing to the ways in which we use anthropomorphizing language, I argue that at the root of this misrepresentation is a failure to take seriously not only the perceptual (...) and epistemic centeredness of human experience, but the ways in which gendered and heterosexualized social norms have become naturalized among its features. Restoring human-centeredness to environmental conscience requires becoming clear about how centeredness is realized not only as chauvinism, but as heterosexism—not because any necessity governs this history, but because what makes enduring change possible is the development of an environmental conscience equally committed to the struggle for social justice. (shrink)
Conscience and Conscientious Objection of Health Care Professionals Refocusing the Issue Content Type Journal Article Pages 351-364 DOI 10.1007/s10730-009-9113-x Authors Natasha T. Morton, The University of Western Ontario Ontario Canada N6A 5B9 Kenneth W. Kirkwood, Arthur and Sonia Labatt Health Sciences Building London Ontario Canada N6A 5B9 Journal HEC Forum Online ISSN 1572-8498 Print ISSN 0956-2737 Journal Volume Volume 21 Journal Issue Volume 21, Number 4.
Lucas Swaine attempts to persuade theocrats of the value of liberty of conscience. But his promotion of principles of conscience for theocratic communities reveals a divided spirit in contemporary liberalism, which is torn between wanting to respect religion as it is and wanting to reform or liberalize it.
This article critically evaluates the conception of conscience underlying the debate about the proper place and role of conscience in the clinical encounter. It suggests that recovering a conception of conscience rooted in the Catholic moral tradition could offer resources for moving the debate past an unproductive assertion of conflicting rights, namely, physicians’ rights to conscience versus patients’ rights to socially and legally sanctioned medical interventions. It proposes that conscience is a necessary component of the (...) moral life in general and a necessary resource for maintaining a coherent sense of moral agency. It demonstrates that an earlier and intellectually richer conception of conscience, in contrast with common contemporary formulations, makes the judgments of conscience accountable to reason, open to critique, and protected from becoming a bastion for bigotry, idiosyncrasy, and personal bias. (shrink)
The analysis of a dispute can focus on either interests, rights, or power. Commentators often frame the conflict over conscience in clinical practice as a dispute between a patient’s right to legally available medical treatment and a clinician’s right to refuse to provide interventions the clinician finds morally objectionable. Multiple sources of unresolvable moral disagreement make resolution in these terms unlikely. One should instead focus on the parties’ interests and the different ways in which the health care delivery system (...) can accommodate them. In the specific case of pharmacists refusing to dispense emergency contraception, alternative systems such as advanced prescription, pharmacist provision, and over-the-counter sales may better reconcile the client’s interest in preventing unintended pregnancy and the pharmacist’s interest in not contravening his or her conscience. Within such an analysis, the ethicist’s role becomes identifying and clarifying the parties’ morally relevant interests. (shrink)
Despite the increasing amount of literature on the legal and political questions triggered by a commitment to liberty of conscience, an explanation of the normative significance of conscience remains elusive. We argue that the few attempts to address this fail to capture the reasons people have to respect the consciences of others. We offer an alternative account that utilizes the resources of the contractualist tradition in moral philosophy to explain why conscience matters.
: The film "Who Should Survive?: One of the Choices on Our Conscience" contains a dramatization of the death of an infant with Down syndrome as the result of the parents' decision not to have a congenital intestinal obstruction surgically corrected. The dramatization was based on two similar cases at The Johns Hopkins Hospital and was financed by the Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr., Foundation. When "Who Should Survive?" was exhibited in 1971, the public reaction was generally critical of the (...) parents' decision and the physicians' inaction. Although technological developments in medicine were a necessary condition for the production of this film and its unanticipated reception, they were not a sufficient condition. The proximate cause was a changed understanding of the capabilities of individuals with Down syndrome. Part of the impetus for this change was data showing the adverse effects of institutionalization on normal children. (shrink)
Le rapport entre « conscience » et « identité » forme l'un des deux versants de la conception lockienne du sujet (l'autre étant constitué par la « propriété de soi-même »). La théorie lockienne repose sur la distinction du « mental » et du « verbal », et l'isolement du premier comme élément de la vérité. Elle suppose une reformulation du principe d'identité sous la forme d'une double négation inhérente à l'esprit (Mind) : il est impossible que l'homme ne (...) sache pas qu'il pense, ou pense sans penser. Enfin elle caractérise comme « intériorité » la différentielle de perception et de réflexion qui opère tout au long de l'expérience. Dès lors le temps intérieur peut être intellectuellement et moralement ressaisi dans l'unité de la « conscience de soi ». Consciousness and Personal Identity form together one half of Locke's theory of the Subject (the other half being « self-ownership »). First of all, « mental » and « verbal » propositions (viz. truths) must be clearly distinguished. The principle of identity has to be reformulated in logico-psychological terms, as a double negation: it is impossible for the Mind to think, without knowing that it thinks. Finally the difference of perception and reflexion, which operates throughout « experience », is called an « internal sense » or interiority. As a consequence, Locke was able to call « self-consciousness » the typical unity of morality and understanding which forms the internal « duration » of the Mind. (shrink)
: Managed care organizations can produce conflicts of obligation and conflicts of interest that may lead to problems of conscience for health care professionals. This paper provides a basis for understanding the notions of conscience and conscientious objection and offers a framework for clinicians to stake out positions grounded in personal conscience as a way for them to respond to unacceptable pressures from managers to limit services.
What role should the physician's conscience play in the practice of medicine? Much controversy has surrounded the question, yet little attention has been paid to the possibility that disputants are operating with contrasting definitions of the conscience. To illustrate this divergence, we contrast definitions stemming from Abrahamic religions and those stemming from secular moral tradition. Clear differences emerge regarding what the term conscience conveys, how the conscience should be informed, and what the consequences are for violating (...) one's conscience. Importantly, these basic disagreements underlie current controversies regarding the role of the clinician's conscience in the practice of medicine. Consequently participants in ongoing debates would do well to specify their definitions of the conscience and the reasons for and implications of those definitions. This specification would allow participants to advance a more philosophically and theologically robust conversation about the means and ends of medicine. (shrink)
The paper argues that there are good reasons to frame the categories of equitable liability around the concept of conscience. A quick look at recent case law reveals an increasing use of conscience categories to discourage overly selfish behaviour among parties to commercial relationships. Critics discard 'conscionability' as an empty category of reference, or see it as a dangerously subjective point of reference. I want to show that the critics assume a very specific, and controversial, model of (...) class='Hi'>conscience in which it is a mere subjective psychological disposition to follow one's hunch about right and wrong. Instead, conscionability should be interpreted in accordance with the Kantian objectivist model, as referring to the point of convergence between people's motivation to do good and their commitment to objective moral norms. On this model, conscience has a strong public aspect as the reasons on which it operates apply to all reasonable human beings at all times. (shrink)
In recent years, commentators have devoted increasing attention to Hegel’s conception of conscience. Prominent interpreters like Frederick Neuhouser have even argued that many points of contact can be found between Hegel’s conceptions of conscience and moral subjectivity and historical and contemporary liberalism. In this paper, I offer an interpretation of an under-examined 1830 addition to the Philosophy of Spirit concerning the relation between religion and the state which proves particularly resistant to the kind of liberal interpretation of (...) class='Hi'>conscience which Neuhouser provides. I assess the significance of Hegel’s argument for the “inseparability” of ethical and religious conscience for liberal interpretations. I conclude by arguing that we can identify a kind of consistency between the Philosophy of Right and the later writings and lectures, but that Hegel’s conception of conscience is incompatible with contemporary political liberalism. (shrink)
Although many scholars have recognized the pivotal importance that the notion of conscience plays in Hegel’s thought, much of the scholarship surrounding this notion has remained piecemeal. Dean Moyar’s book Hegel’s Conscience breaks new ground on this subject in offering a comprehensive analysis of the indispensable role that conscience plays in Hegel’s philosophy, demonstrating not only its foundational place for Hegel’s approach to ethics, but also the contemporary relevancy of Hegel’s account for understanding the performative character of (...) practical reason. Despite the novelty and intellectual rigor of Moyar’s position, my essay “Translating Convictions into a Clear Conscience” argues that in confining his approach to a “cognitivist” interpretation of conscience, Moyar ends up neglecting the richness and existential depth of Hegel’s discussion. And so although Moyar’s interpretation is clear, succinct, and plausible, it accomplishes this by overlooking much of Hegel’s original phenomenological fidelity to the actual experience of conscience. (shrink)
In this article, we examine the effect of corporate social responsibility (CSR) on firms’ financial performance (CSR-effect). Two competing hypotheses, social impact hypothesis and shift of focus hypothesis, are proposed to investigate this issue, where the former suggests that CSR has a positive relation with performance and the latter are opposite. In order to ensure the CSR-effect is not contaminated by other factors or samples are randomly drawn, we employ four matching methods, Nearest, Caliper, Mahala and Mahala Caliper to match (...) the samples of CSR (CSR-firms) and without CSR (NonCSR-firms) with similar characteristics. Although four methods yield slightly different results, firms engaging in CSR activities tend to obtain significantly higher values on pretax income to net sales and profit margin, and adopting CSR at the very least not deteriorate the performance of firms, making our conclusion favors the social impact hypothesis and against shift of focus hypothesis in Taiwan. Thus, ambition and conscience are not conflicting with each other. (shrink)
The nature and limits of the physician's professional responsibilities constitute core topics in clinical ethics. These responsibilities originate in the physician's professional role, which was first examined in the modern English-language literature of medical ethics by two eighteenth-century British physician-ethicists, John Gregory and Thomas Percival. The papers in this annual clinical ethics number of the Journal explore the physician's professional responsibilities in the areas of surgical ethics, matters of conscience, and managed care.
: Bioethics has focused on the areas of individual ethical choices--patient care--or public policy and law. There are, however, important arenas for ethical choices that have been overlooked. Health care is populated with intermediate arenas such as hospitals, nursing homes, hospices, and health care systems. This essay argues that bioethics needs to develop a language and concepts for institutional ethics. A first step in this direction is to think about institutional conscience.
This paper examines the tensions in classical liberal theory ? particularly that of Locke and Kant ? between reason and conscience, and in contemporary liberal theory between the demands of reasonableness and the dictates of conscience. We intend to show that the relationship between reasonableness and conscience is both unstable and necessary; on occasions there seems to exist a moral obligation to provide public reasons for our conduct and at other times the silent call of conscience (...) precludes public justification of conscientious objection or dissent. (shrink)
In Remnants of Auschwitz, Giorgio Agamben argues that every ethical doctrine that claims to be founded on the notions of responsibility and guilt, even if ‘interiorized and moved outside law’ in the form of moral conscience, is necessarily ‘insufficient and opaque’. Indeed, one of the basic intents of the book is to profane and to neutralize the notions of guilt and responsibility as the paradigms of ethical thought, and to remove the idea of conscience from the sphere of (...) ethics. In this article, my aim is to bring out some ‘opacities’ that occur in Agamben’s own analyses. To Agamben, the ‘witness-remnant’ is an ethical notion that shows the way beyond the interiorized juridical categories of conscience, whereas I argue that both the witness and the remnant are notions intimately and even inseparably linked with the western history of conscience. Conscience has been a witness from the very beginning of its appearance in the classical period of Greece. In the Christian era, moreover, conscience became a remnant, even the remnant, remaining of the original moral integrity that had been lost by humankind in the Fall. At the end of the article, I argue that instead of succeeding in profaning the theological/ juridical notion of conscience, Agamben’s ‘witness-remnant’ merely secularizes it in the Schmittian sense. (shrink)
This paper explains and defends three basic propositions: (1) that our attitudes (particularly American attitudes) towardorganizational ethics are conflicted at a fairly deep level; (2) that in response to this conflict in our attitudes, we often default to variouscounterfeits of conscience (non-moral systems that serve as surrogates for the role of conscience in organizational settings); and(3) that a better response (than relying on counterfeits) would be for leaders to foster a culture of ethical awareness in their organizations. Some (...) practical suggestions are made about fostering such a culture, and a comparison is made between this late-20th-century response to the problem of counterfeits and the classic “naturalistic fallacy” identified in early-20th-century ethics by G. E. Moore. (shrink)
Mamardašvili did not develop a systematic philosophy that treats separately the various traditional disciplines of philosophy such as epistemology, logic, ethics, aesthetics etc. On the contrary, isolated from the direct influences of other currents of thought that might otherwise have given his own a different direction, Mamardašvili concentrated his attention on the very act of thought, the vitality of which had been undermined in philosophical understandings, including both Hegelian-Marxist attempts to situate the subject in history and re-appropriations of the Cartesian (...) cogito. In this paper I will outline the most pertinent elements of Mamardašvili’s attempt to find a unified subject of knowledge and action and attempt to show how in his view consciousness and conscience are indissoluble. (shrink)
Throughout the 3-year war in Lebanon (1982-1985) and throughout the 7 years of the first Intifada (1987-1994), about 170 objecting reservists chose to adopt an unconventional mode of moral resolution for their dilemma about service in the conflict: they disobeyed the order to serve in the war zone when their unit was called up. They argued that such service would contradict the dictates of their conscience. At the outset, the intention of most of these reservists was to comply with (...) orders for general military service. They asked to serve within the Green Line. When their request was overruled and they continued to disregard their call-up, they were charged with a disciplinary offense (Israel has no legal provision for selective conscientious objection). They subsequently were tried by court-martial and were sentenced to 14-35 days in military prison, some of them more than once when they refused additional drafts. Their major conscientious claims revolve around two major constraints: resisting the unfair physical load of military reserve service and resisting the obligation to face morally no-win situations. I would further argue that even though most of the public and the senior army echelons were familiar with these two types of moral voices, they preferred to remove the conscientious soldiers from their posts, or to ignore the claims themselves. (shrink)
This paper develops a new interpretation of Heidegger's concept of conscience in order to show to what extent his thought establishes the possibility of civil disobedience. The origin of conscience lies in the self's appropriation of language as inviting a reciprocal response of the other (person). By developing the social dimension of dialogue, it is showsn that conscience reveals the self in its capacity for dissent, free speech, and civil disobedience. By developing the social roots of (...) class='Hi'>conscience, a completely new light is cast on the political implications of Heidegger's thought. (shrink)
This article considers the difficult question of whether there are any reasons for theocratic religious devotees to affirm liberalism and liberal institutions. Swaine argues not only that there are reasons for theocrats to affirm liberalism, but that theocrats are committed rationally to three normative principles of liberty of conscience, as well. Swaine subsequently discusses three institutional and strategic implications of his arguments. First, he outlines an option of semisovereignty for theocratic communities in liberal democracies, and explains why an appropriate (...) valuation of liberty of conscience may justify a standard of that kind. Second, he addresses the question of permissible government aid for religion and symbolic endorsement of religious groups. Third, Swaine considers innovations and new approaches that could be employed internationally to better display liberal government's affirmation of religiosity, to promote liberty of conscience, and to help improve relations between liberal and theocratic parties around the globe. (shrink)
As the author of The Liberal Conscience: Politics and Principle in a World of Religious Pluralism (2006), I outline the arguments and purposes of my book, delineating the political and philosophical problems of theocracy and describing elements of a new liberal theory able successfully to address them.
Three contemporary acts—corporate theft, sexual abuse of minors, and abortion—when done by generally moral people whose consciences at times seems to be inoperative, all share the same dynamic of harming an innocent person entrusted to them. Drawingupon philosophical anthropology, I argue that these acts reveal a mislocation of conscience in the emotions, imagination, memory, theoretical intellect, or will as defended by Hume, James, Freud, Kant, Nietzsche, or Hegel. In this article Aquinas and certain contemporary Catholic philosophers engage these erroneous (...) views about conscience. They defend the position that conscience is found in a person’s exercise of the practical intellect as integrated with, but not supplanted by, these other operations. Throughout the analysis Christine Gudorf’s existential reflection on the relation of her conscience to abortion is analyzed. I argue that many generallymoral people today have in one area either disengaged, locked tight, or transferred their conscience by what Robert Lifton calls “The Faustian Bargain of Doubling.”. (shrink)
Recent debates have led some to question the legitimacy of physicians refusing to provide legally permissible services for reasons of conscience. In this paper, I will explore the question of whether medical professionals have a collective duty to ensure that their profession provides nondiscriminatory access to all medical services. I will argue that they do not. I will also argue for an approach to dealing with intractable moral disagreements between patients and physicians that gives both parties veto power with (...) regards to participation. Finally, I will respond to three objections to allowing physicians broad freedom to act on their consciences: such allowances would violate the conscience of the patient, would lead to unfairness, and would thwart important societal goals. (shrink)
A liberalism of conscience incorporates both persuasion and reasoning to achieve its ends, but it does not entail guilt or bad conscience about the need to rule. Neither does the approach involve efforts to convert dissenters to some specific conception of the good. My view differs significantly from the views of John Rawls and John Locke: a liberalism of conscience is based in principles that people should accept, and which provide a firmer ground for rightful toleration. The (...) theory is critical for rethinking the nature of value-pluralism, and it is capable of uniting religious and secular parties in an affirmation of fundamental political principles. (shrink)
The Egalitarian Conscience pays tribute to the highly influential work of Professor G. A. Cohen. Professor Cohen is a philosopher of international stature and tremendous achievement, who has been vital to the flourishing of egalitarian political philosophy. He has a significant body of work spanning issues of Marxism and distributive justice, consistently characterized by original ideas and ingenious arguments. The high standard of rigour he sets for progressive thinkers, particularly himself, has been a source of inspiration for colleagues and (...) students alike. -/- The volume honours Professor Cohen with first-rate essays on a number of significant and fascinating topics, reflecting the wide-ranging themes of Professor Cohen's work, but united in their concern for questions of social justice, pluralism, equality, and moral duty. The contributors are scholars of international stature: Joshua Cohen, Jon Elster, Susan Hurley, Will Kymlicka, Derek Parfit, John Roemer, T. M. Scanlon, Samuel Scheffler, Hillel Steiner, and Jeremy Waldron. There is an afterword by G. A. Cohen. (shrink)
One way of ensuring that individual actions do not violate a group's moral norms is to develop within each individual a conscience. Conscience consists in the internalization or acceptance of a group's moral norms as correct and overriding one's self-interest when they conflict.Corporations as well as individuals need a conscience to monitor and control their behavior. The correlative of a personal conscience in a corporation consists in the representation of group interests in the running and managing (...) of the firm. This means consumer and employee representation on the board of directors and management is the most effective way to promote corporate moral behavior. (shrink)
In this paper I uncover and critically analyze a methodological assumption in the literature on conscientious refusals in health care. The assumption is what I call the “Priority of Conscience Principle,” which says the following: to determine the moral status of any act of conscientious refusal, it is first necessary to determine the nature and value of conscience. I argue that it is not always necessary to discuss conscience in the debate on conscientious refusals, and that discussing (...)conscience is even problematic, since it can lead authors to beg the question. (shrink)
This is a critical study of the arguments of Pierre Bayle’s Commentaire philosophique by which he tries to show that someone whose conscience is in error has a moral right (of a limited kind) to do what it commands, and that the act may be morally good; and that others, such as the government, may nevertheless have the right, and a duty, to prevent the act by force.
This book provides a new interpretation of the ethical theory of G.W.F. Hegel. The aim is not only to give a new interpretation for specialists in German Idealism, but also to provide an analysis that makes Hegel's ethics accessible for all scholars working in ethical and political philosophy. While Hegel's political philosophy has received a good deal of attention in the literature, the core of his ethics has eluded careful exposition, in large part because it is contained in his claims (...) about conscience. This book shows that, contrary to accepted wisdom, conscience is the central concept for understanding Hegel's view of practical reason and therefore for understanding his ethics as a whole. The argument combines careful exegesis of key passages in Hegel's texts with detailed treatments of problems in contemporary ethics and reconstructions of Hegel's answers to those problems. The main goals are to render comprehensible Hegel's notoriously difficult texts by framing arguments with debates in contemporary ethics, and to show that Hegel still has much to teach us about the issues that matter to us most. Central topics covered in the book are the connection of self-consciousness and agency, the relation of motivating and justifying reasons, moral deliberation and the holism of moral reasoning, mutual recognition, and the rationality of social institutions. (shrink)
In this article I discuss the idea that investors have moral reasons to avoid investing in certain business areas based on their own moral views towards these areas. Some has referred to this as ”conscience investing”, and it is a central part of the conception of ethical investing within the socially responsible investment (SRI) movement. I present what I take to be the main arguments for this kind of investing as they are given by those who have defended it, (...) and discuss the plausibility of these arguments from the point of view of moral philosophy. In the end, I argue that focusing on the moral views of individual investors is not very fruitful – we have strong reasons to think that investors do not have moral reasons to invest ”with their consciences”, or, to the extent that we may allow such reasons, that they are very weak compared to other sorts of moral reasons pertaining to ethical investing. (shrink)
After reviewing Newman’s famous defense of conscience in his Letter to the Duke of Norfolk (1875), this essay assembles Newman’s lifelong reflections on conscience—from his Anglican sermons to his Grammar of Assent (1870)—in a threefold structure: desire, discernment, and demand.
Hegel’s conception of Spirit does not subordinate difference to sameness, in a way that would make it unusable for a genuinely intersubjective idealism directed to a comprehensive account of the contemporary world. A close analysis of the logic of recognition and the dialectic of conscience in the Phenomenology of Spirit demonstrates that the unity of Spirit emerges in and through conflict, and is forged in the process whereby particular encounters between differently situated individuals reveal and establish the emerging character (...) and significance of the stances they uniquely occupy. (shrink)
The philosophical understanding of moral conscience should constitute one of the most significant concerns of any modern theory of moral education that wishes to be credible and reliable in all morally demanding situations. The purpose of this paper is not to contest the widely accepted notion of conscience as the absolute mark of our moral and spiritual integrity. The purpose of the paper is to postulate and stress the importance of certain "contextual" factors without which modern teaching of (...) moral conscience could very easily lose its certainty and significance. It is argued that unless we make such assumptions, our following the dictates of individual conscience could become a trivial and redundant affair, because nothing could prove that this act is something more than "listening to one's inner voice". In the light of this, the paper proposes a qualified theory that avoids looking at individual conscience as a formal schema and embraces it within the broader framework of the educational demands raised by modern democratic culture. (shrink)
Our concern for nonhuman nature can be justified in terms of a human right to liberty of ecological conscience. This right is analogous to the right to religious liberty, and is equally worthy of recognition as that fundamental liberty. The liberty of ecological conscience, like religious liberty, is a negative right against interference. Each ecological conscience supports a claim to protection of the parts of nonhuman nature that are current or potential sites of its active pursuit of (...) natural value. If we acknowledge the fallibility of each conscience in its pursuit of genuine natural value, a policy of indefinitely extensive conservation can be justified. Destruction of an object of current or potential natural value is like destroying a church, mosque, temple, or other holy place. This justification for environmental conservation is analogous to the standard justification for individual negative rights, as upheld by the liberal tradition of Locke, Mill, and Rawls. (shrink)