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Encyclopedia > Conscience
François Chifflart (1825-1901), The Conscience (after Victor Hugo)
François Chifflart (1825-1901), The Conscience (after Victor Hugo)

Conscience is an ability or faculty or sense that leads to feelings of remorse when we do things that go against our moral values, or which informs our moral judgment before performing such an action. Such feelings are not intellectually reached, though they may cause us to 'examine our conscience' and review those moral precepts, or perhaps resolve to avoid repeating the behaviour. Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Look up ability in Wiktionary, the free dictionary Ability - the quality of person of being able to perform; A quality that permits or facilitates achievement or accomplishment. ... Much of the recent sociological debate on power revolves around the issue of the constraining and/or enabling nature of power. ... Senses are the physiological methods of perception. ... People feel remorse when reflecting on their actions that they believe are wrong. ... Moral values are things held to be right or wrong or desirable or undesirable. ...

Commonly used metaphors refer to the "voice of conscience" or "voice within."


Differing Views of Conscience

Views of conscience are not mutually exclusive, as can be seen by the quotes above, and by many other scholars. Although there is no generally accepted definition of what conscience is or what its role in ethical decision-making is, there are three main factors that determine which stance is adopted. For other uses, see Ethics (disambiguation). ...

  1. Secular views '(including the psychological, physiological, sociological, humanitarian and authoritarian views.)'
  2. Religious views '(including the Divine Command Theory, the works of Newman, Aquinas, Butler, Bonhoeffer and so on).'
  3. Philosophical views '(including Hegel's Philosophy of Mind)'

This article is about secularism. ... Psychological science redirects here. ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... Sociology (from Latin: socius, companion; and the suffix -ology, the study of, from Greek λόγος, lógos, knowledge [1]) is the systematic and scientific study of society, including patterns of social relationships, social action, and culture[2]. Areas studied in sociology can range from the analysis of brief contacts between anonymous... There are a number of meanings for humanitarianism: humanitarianism, humanism, the doctrine that peoples duty is to promote human welfare. ... Forms of government Part of the Politics series Politics Portal This box:      This article applies to political and organizational ideologies. ... Various Religious symbols, including (first row) Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Bahai, (second row) Islamic, tribal, Taoist, Shinto (third row) Buddhist, Sikh, Hindu, Jain, (fourth row) Ayyavazhi, Triple Goddess, Maltese cross, pre-Christian Slavonic Religion is the adherence to codified beliefs and rituals that generally involve a faith in a spiritual... J H Newman age 23 when he preached his first sermon. ... Saint Thomas Aquinas (1225 - March 7, 1274) was a Catholic philosopher and theologian in the scholastic tradition, who gave birth to the Thomistic school of philosophy, which was long the primary philosophical approach of the Roman Catholic Church. ... Joseph Butler (May 18, 1692 O.S. – June 16, 1752) was an English bishop, theologian, apologist, and philosopher. ... Dietrich Bonhoeffer (February 4, 1906 — April 9, 1945) was a German religious leader and participant in the resistance movement against Nazism. ... For other uses, see Philosophy (disambiguation). ... Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (August 27, 1770 - November 14, 1831) was a German philosopher born in Stuttgart, Württemberg, in present-day southwest Germany. ... A phrenological mapping of the brain. ...

Religious views of conscience

According to some religious perspectives, your conscience is what bothers you when you do evil to your neighbor, or which informs you of the right or wrong of an action before committing it. Doing good to your neighbor doesn't arouse the conscience to speak, but wickedness inflicted upon the innocent is sure to make the conscience scream. This is because in this world view, God has commanded all men to love their neighbor. Insofar as a man fails to do this, he breaks God's law and thus his conscience bothers him until he confesses his sin to God and repents of that sin, clearing his conscience. If one persists in an evil way of life for a long period of time, it is referred to as having one's conscience seared with a hot iron. A lying hypocrite is an example of someone who has ignored their conscience for so long that it fails to function.

Many churches consider following one's conscience to be as important as, or even more important than, obeying human authority. This can sometimes lead to moral quandaries. "Do I obey my church/military/political leader, or do I follow my own sense of right and wrong?" Most churches and religious groups hold the moral teachings of their sacred texts as the highest authority in any situation. This dilemma is akin to Antigone's defiance of King Creon's order, appealing to the "unwritten law" and to a "longer allegiance to the dead than to the living"; it can also be compared to the trial of Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann, in which he claimed that he had followed Kantian philosophy by simply "doing his job" instead of entering a state of civil disobedience [1]. For the architectural structure, see Church (building). ... This article is about authority as a concept. ... For other uses, see Antigone (disambiguation). ... Natural law or the law of nature (Latin: lex naturalis) is an ethical theory that posits the existence of a law whose content is set by nature and that therefore has validity everywhere. ... Otto Adolf Eichmann (known as Adolf Eichmann; March 19, 1906 – June 1, 1962) was a high-ranking Nazi and SS Obersturmbannführer (equivalent to Lieutenant Colonel). ... Immanuel Kant Immanuel Kant (April 22, 1724 – February 12, 1804) was a Prussian philosopher, generally regarded as one of Europes most influential thinkers and the last major philosopher of the Enlightenment. ... For other uses, see Civil disobedience (disambiguation). ...

In popular culture, the conscience is often illustrated as an angel standing on a person's right shoulder, the good side; on the left sinister shoulder stands a devil (left implying bad luck in superstition, and the word sinister coming from the Latin word for left). These entities will then 'speak out' to you and try to influence you to make a good choice or bad choice depending on the situation. Look up Sinister in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... For other uses, see Superstition (disambiguation). ...

Biblical references often cited regarding conscience

  • Hebrews 9:14: "How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!"
  • 1 Timothy 4:1,2: "Now the Spirit speaks expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron."
  • Romans 2:14-15: " When Gentiles who do not possess the law carry out its precepts by the light of nature, then, although they have no law, they are their own law; they show that what the law requires is inscribed on their hearts, and to this their conscience gives supporting witness, since their own thoughts argue the case, sometimes against them, sometimes even for them."

Conscience in Catholic theology

Conscience, in Catholic theology, is "a judgment of reason whereby the human person recognizes the moral quality of a concrete act he is going to perform, is in the process of performing, or has already completed" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 1778). Catholics are called to examine their conscience before confession. The Catechism of the Catholic Church, or CCC, is an official exposition of the teachings of the Catholic Church, first published in French in 1992 by the authority of Pope John Paul II.[1] Subsequently, in 1997, a Latin text was issued which is now the official text of reference... This article is about the practice of confession in the Modern confessional in the Church of the Holy Name, Dunedin, New Zealand. ...

Obedience to conscience has been claimed by many dissenters as a God-given right, from Martin Luther, who said (or reputedly said), "Here I stand, I can do no other," to Radical Catholics who disagree with certain doctrines or dogmas. The Church eventually agreed, saying, "Man has the right to act according to his conscience and in freedom so as personally to make moral decisions. He must not be forced to act contrary to his conscience. Nor must he be prevented from acting according to his conscience, especially in religious matters" (ibid., paragraph 1782). In certain situations involving individual personal decisions that are incompatible with church law, some pastors rely on the use of the internal forum solution. Martin Luther (November 10, 1483 – February 18, 1546) was a German monk,[1] priest, professor, theologian, and church reformer. ... The Christian Left or Religious Left are terms used to describe those who hold a strong Christian belief and share left-wing, liberal, or socialist ideals. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... For other senses of this word, see dogma (disambiguation). ... Internal forum - a term used in moral theology referring to the private realm of ones personal conscience or an act of judgement applying the universal truth to a particular situation. ...

However, the Catholic Church has warned that "rejection of the Church's authority and her teaching...can be at the source of errors in judgment in moral conduct" (ibid., paragraph 1792).

Conscience in Protestant theology

The Reformation began with Luther's crisis of conscience. And for many Protestants, following one's consciences could rank higher than obedience to church authorities or accepted interpretations of the Bible. One example of a Protestant theologian who caused his church to rethink the issue of conscience was William Robertson Smith of the Free Church of Scotland. Tried for heresy because of his use of modern methods of interpreting the Old Testament, he received only a token punishment. However the case contributed to a situation in which many Protestant denominations allow a wide variety of beliefs and practices to be held by their members in accordance with their conscience (see Presbyterianism#Doctrine). The Protestant Reformation was a movement which began in the 16th century as a series of attempts to reform the Roman Catholic Church, but ended in division and the establishment of new institutions, most importantly Lutheranism, Reformed churches, and Anabaptists. ... Protestantism is a general grouping of denominations within Christianity. ... This Gutenberg Bible is displayed by the United States Library. ... William Robertson Smith (8 November 1846–31 March 1894) was a Scottish philologist, physicist, archaeologist, and Biblical critic best known for his work on the Encyclopædia Britannica and his book Religion of the Semites, which is considered a foundational text in the comparative study of religion. ... The Free Church of Scotland (1843-1900) was a Scottish denomination formed by the withdrawal of a large section of the established Church of Scotland in a schism known as the Disruption of 1843. ... Topics in Christianity Movements · Denominations · Other religions Ecumenism · Preaching · Prayer Music · Liturgy · Calendar Symbols · Art · Criticism Important figures Apostle Paul · Church Fathers Constantine · Athanasius · Augustine Anselm · Aquinas · Palamas · Luther Calvin · Wesley Arius · Marcion of Sinope Archbishop of Canterbury · Catholic Pope Coptic Pope · Ecumenical Patriarch Christianity Portal This box:      Note: Judaism... Presbyterianism is a tradition shared by a large number of Christian denominations which is most prevalent within the Reformed branch of Protestant Western Christianity. ...

Secular views of conscience

Modern day scientists in the fields of Ethology, Neuroscience and Evolutionary psychology seek to explain conscience as a function of the human brain that evolved to facilitate reciprocal altruism within societies. As such it could be instinctive (genetically determined) or learnt. This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Drawing of the cells in the chicken cerebellum by S. Ramón y Cajal Neuroscience is a field that is devoted to the scientific study of the nervous system. ... Evolutionary psychology (abbreviated EP) is a theoretical approach to psychology that attempts to explain mental and psychological traits—such as memory, perception, or language—as adaptations, i. ... In evolutionary biology, reciprocal altruism is a form of altruism in which one organism provides a benefit to another in the expectation of future reciprocation. ... For other uses, see Society (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Instinct (disambiguation). ... This article is about the general scientific term. ...

Psycho-Analytical views

The psychologist Sigmund Freud regarded conscience as originating in the superego, which takes its cue from our parents during childhood. According to Freud, the consequence of not obeying our conscience is "guilt," which can be a factor in the development of neurosis. Your conscience is the measure of the honesty of your selfishness. Sigmund Freud (IPA: ), born Sigismund Schlomo Freud (May 6, 1856 – September 23, 1939), was an Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist who founded the psychoanalytic school of psychology. ... In his theory of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud sought to explain how the unconscious mind operates by proposing that it has a particular structure. ... “Guilty” redirects here. ... In modern psychology, the term neurosis, also known as psychoneurosis or neurotic disorder, is a general term that refers to any mental imbalance that causes distress, but (unlike a psychosis or personality disorder) does not prevent rational thought or an individuals ability to function in daily life. ...

Bio-Psychological views

Conscience can prompt different people in quite different directions, depending on their beliefs, suggesting that while the capacity for conscience is probably genetically determined, its subject matter is probably learnt, or imprinted, like language, as part of a culture. For instance, one person may feel a moral duty to go to war, another feels a moral duty to avoid war under any circumstances. This article is about the general scientific term. ... Imprinting is the term used in psychology and ethology to describe any kind of phase-sensitive learning (learning occurring at a particular age or a particular life stage) that is rapid and apparently independent of the consequences of behavior. ... For other uses, see Culture (disambiguation). ... Duty is a term loosely appliedDuty to any action (or course of action) whichDutyDuty is regarded as morally incumbent, apart from personal likes and dislikes or any external compulsion. ...

Numerous case studies of brain damage have shown that damage to specific areas of the brain (e.g. the anterior prefrontal cortex) results in the reduction or elimination of inhibitions, with a corresponding radical change in behaviour patterns. When the damage occurs to adults, they may still be able to perform moral reasoning; but when it occurs to children, they may never develop that ability.[2] “Prefrontal” redirects here. ...

Conscience as society-forming instincts

The human animal has a set of instincts and drives which enable us to form societies: groups of humans without these drives, or in whom they are insufficiently strong, cannot form cohesive societies and do not reproduce their kind as successfully as those that do. They either cannot survive in nature, or are defeated in conflict with other, more cohesive groups. For other uses, see Society (disambiguation). ...

Behavior destructive to a person's society (either to its structures, or to the persons it comprises) is bad or "evil." Evil or wrong acts provoke either fear or disgust/contempt. Thus, a madman who threatens us with a chainsaw and one whose sexual practices we ourselves find revolting might both be labeled "bad." Indeed, one does not necessarily need to do anything to be "bad" - a natural coward may provoke contempt, and thereby be a bad person (i.e., a coward), even without actually having any occasion to flee from the enemy. And the identification of badness can be quite subtle and involve reasoning. For instance: a sheriff that shoots a gunman is not thereby bad because he is not a threat to an average member of society (as the gunman is), and hence does not provoke fear. Yet gangs of criminals can perceive law enforcement officers as bad people. For other uses, see Evil (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Fear (disambiguation). ... A woman showing disgust. ... For other uses, see Contempt (disambiguation). ... Cowardice is a vice. ...

Conscience is what we call those drives that prompt us to avoid provoking fear or contempt in others. We experience the operation of conscience as guilt and shame. We feel guilt when we perceive that others might rightly fear us, and shame when we perceive that others might rightly find us disgusting or contemptible. To avoid these negative and unpleasant feelings, we modify our behavior: thus "conscience" prompts us to behave "rightly."[citation needed] “Guilty” redirects here. ... For other uses, see Shame (disambiguation). ...

Guilt and shame differ from society to society, and person to person. This both in the content of what acts might provoke these feelings, and the general degree of how strongly these feelings are felt. Indeed, an individual can feel guilt or shame retrospectively for past acts, as one's ideas about right behavior change. A person's circumstances will also alter their ideas of what is "bad." Persons in nations, religious groups, gangs, or other types of groups will - if their group and another are engaged in physical conflict - view members of the other group as "bad," and view members of that gang harming members of their own as wrong acts.

A requirement of conscience, then, is the capacity to see ourselves from the point of view of another person. Persons unable to do this (those suffering from psychopath, sociopathy, narcissism) therefore often act in ways which are "evil." See Also: Antisocial Personality Disorder Theoretically, psychopathy is a three-faceted disorder involving interpersonal, affective and behavioral characteristics. ... Antisocial personality disorder (APD) is a personality disorder which is often characterised by antisocial and impulsive behaviour. ... Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD), a term first used by Heinz Kohut in 1971[1], is a form of pathological narcissism acknowledged in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders in 1980, in the edition known as DSM III-TR. Narcissistic personality disorder is characterized by extreme focus on oneself...

Another requirement is that we see ourselves and some "other" as being in a social relationship. Persons trying to resolve conflict between groups try (and sometimes succeed) to create a feeling that a social relationship exists, that the groups in conflict all belong to some larger encompassing group. Thus, nationalism is invoked to quell tribal conflict, and the notion of a Brotherhood of Man is invoked to quell national conflicts. There are even appeals to relationships between ourselves and the animals in society (pets, working animals, even animals grown for food), or between ourselves and nature as a whole. The goal is that once people perceive a social relationship, their conscience will begin to operate with respect to that former "other", and they will change their actions. Eugène Delacroixs Liberty Leading the People, symbolising French nationalism during the July Revolution 1830. ... Tribal refers to a culture or society based on tribes or clans. ... Brotherhood of Man was a 1970s British pop vocal group, which won the Eurovision Song Contest in 1976, with the country-pop-esque Save Your Kisses for Me. // The group was formed by record producer / composer, Tony Hiller, and originally featured the well-travelled vocalist, Tony Burrows and two female... For other uses, see War (disambiguation). ... Pets and humans often contribute toward the happiness of the other in a pet relationship. ... This article is about the physical universe. ...

Conscience, then, and ideas of right and wrong, are a result of the kind of animals we are. We even see this in nonhuman animals [3][4][5].

Philosophical views of conscience

As science means knowledge, conscience etymologically means with-knowledge. But the English word implies a moral standard of action in the mind as well as a consciousness of our own actions. Conscience is the reason, employed about questions of right and wrong, and accompanied with the sentiments of approbation and condemnation. Any consideration of conscience must consider the estimate or determination of conscience and the resulting conviction or right or duty. For further and wider view of knowing the philosophical view of conscience one must know the prominent ethical philosophers particularly (Socrates,Plato and Aristotle)and 1. Aquinas 2. Kant 3. Confuscios 4. Buddhism 5. and then also the entire school of thoughts of Philosophy that deals on Moral issue like the Utilitarian, Pragmaticism, etc.

Medieval conceptions of conscience

The medieval schoolmen made a distinction between conscience and a closely related concept called synderesis. However, there is evidence that this is an artificial distinction, and that the two terms originally meant the same thing.[citation needed] Scholastic redirects here. ... Synderesis, in scholastic moral philosophy, is the natural capacity or disposition (habitus) of the practical reason to apprehend intuitively the universal first principles of human action. ...


St. Thomas Aquinas claimed that conscience was “reason making right decisions” – so rather than it being "some-thing", it is a process. It must be noted that although Aquinas appears to take on an almost nonchalant view of conscience, he still argued that the reason itself could only come from God. If you are doing good, then it must come from the only source of goodness – God. Saint Thomas Aquinas (1225 - March 7, 1274) was a Catholic philosopher and theologian in the scholastic tradition, who gave birth to the Thomistic school of philosophy, which was long the primary philosophical approach of the Roman Catholic Church. ... Saint Thomas Aquinas (1225 - March 7, 1274) was a Catholic philosopher and theologian in the scholastic tradition, who gave birth to the Thomistic school of philosophy, which was long the primary philosophical approach of the Roman Catholic Church. ... This article discusses the term God in the context of monotheism and henotheism. ... This article discusses the term God in the context of monotheism and henotheism. ...

For Aquinas, our God-given ability to reason will lead to knowledge of synderesis. Synderesis is an innate awareness of good and evil that cannot be mistaken – we all have this ability to distinguish from good and bad in the same quantity, and feel a moral obligation to act out the synderesis rule – to avoid evil and pursue goodness. Aquinas also described synderesis as an awareness of the five primary precepts as proposed in his theory of Natural Law. Natural law or the law of nature (Latin: lex naturalis) is an ethical theory that posits the existence of a law whose content is set by nature and that therefore has validity everywhere. ...

Aquinas referred to the conscience as the 'conscientia' and defined as the acting out of the information given by synderesis, or the process of judgment which acts upon synderesis - the "application of knowledge to activity."

Aquinas also discussed the virtue of prudence to explain why some people appear to be less 'morally enlightened' than others. Prudence is the most important of all virtues, as it helps us balance our own needs with those of others and to reason out the knowledge of synderesis. Our conscience may be mistaken if we haven't acquired enough of the virtue of prudence, which can lead to a breakdown of communication between synderesis and conscientia. Prudence, by Luca Giordano Allegory of Prudence, by Simon Vouet Look up Prudence, prudence in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...

To clarify things, take the analogy of a locked safe. The safe itself is the moral knowledge of synderesis, the key to the safe of moral knowledge is the virtue of prudence, and the hands of practical application that apply the key to unlock the safe is the conscientia.

Aquinas reasoned that acting contrary to your conscience is an evil action, since although it may be mistaken at times it is our only guide. The 'erring conscience' as Aquinas termed it, explains the differences that may arise in different people's concientia. You have an erring conscience if you are mistaken or confused about the moral course of action. The question could be raised however: is an erring conscience blameworthy? For Aquinas, an erring conscience is only blameworthy if it is the result of culpable or vincible ignorance of factors that are within one's duty to have knowledge of. If however, an erring conscience is the result of an invincible ignorance of factors that are beyond your control, your actions are not culpable. One must also be aware of Aquinas’ distinction between real and apparent goods. Although real goods may be from God, apparent goods (when we follow the wrong path believing it to be a real good) are not. An erring conscience may lead us down the path of an apparent good, which will not lead to human flourishing. Vincible ignorance is, in Catholic ethics, ignorance in a moral matter that could have been removed by diligence reasonable to the circumstances. ... Saint Thomas Aquinas (1225 - March 7, 1274) was a Catholic philosopher and theologian in the scholastic tradition, who gave birth to the Thomistic school of philosophy, which was long the primary philosophical approach of the Roman Catholic Church. ...

Aquinas reasoned that we should educate our consciences in order to act well and bring our selves in line with the highest good. Although it should be applied before an action, it may cause feelings of 'reatus' (guilt) or satisfaction after an action.

Joseph Butler

Joseph Butler argued that conscience is God-given and should always be obeyed. Butler also said that it is intuitive, as we have the ability to perceive things beyond empirical evidence, and therefore it is considered the ‘constitutional monarch’ and the ‘universal moral faculty’. It would appear that Butler is in striking accordance with Situation Ethics – Fletcher was also an Anglican Priest, which may have played some part in this. Butler refers to the use of ‘self-love’ and ‘benevolence’ in conscience, which can be attributed to the Agape of Situational ethics. As Situational ethics is teleological and assesses each scenario on an individual basis, it would stand to reason that it supports the use of conscience in every decision. However, as Vardy claims, there is no such thing as a conscience in Situational ethics – only the attempts of making appropriate decisions in situations. One could argue that these ‘attempts’ are in fact the conscience itself, and it therefore does support its use in decision-making. Joseph Butler (May 18, 1692 O.S. – June 16, 1752) was an English bishop, theologian, apologist, and philosopher. ... This article discusses the term God in the context of monotheism and henotheism. ... Empirical research is any activity that uses direct or indirect observation as its test of reality. ... Joseph Fletcher (1905-1991) was an American professor who founded the theory of situational ethics in the 1960s, and was a pioneer in the field of bioethics. ... The term Anglican describes those people and churches following the religious traditions of the Church of England, especially following the Reformation. ... This article is about religious workers. ... AgapÄ“ (IPA: or IPA: ) (Gk. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Situation ethics. ... Teleology (Greek: telos: end, purpose) is the philosophical study of design, purpose, directive principle, or finality in nature or human creations. ...

Simon Soloveychik

According to Simon Soloveychik the truth distributed in the world, as the statement about human dignity, as the affirmation of the line between good and evil - lives in people as conscience. Millions of people for thousands of years sought the truth and reached it, and so, gradually the common knowledge (science), the common message about the truth was defined - con-science. In many languages this word is constructed the same way as in Russian (message is весть and conscience is со-весть). In German Wissen - is knowledge, and Gewissen - is conscience, SIMON LVOVICH SOLOVEICHIK (1930-1996) Simon Lvovich Soloveichik died at the age of 66 on October 18, 1996, following a brief hospitalization for chronic health problems. ... This article is about virtue. ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... For other uses, see Evil (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Knowledge (disambiguation). ... Message in its most general meaning is an object of communication. ...

He stated that conscience - is a common, one for all, knowledge about what good is and what evil is for humankind. Not for a man, not for his time, not for a group of men, but for humankind as a whole. As language, conscience is individual in each person and it is common for all. Human beings are defined variously in biological, spiritual, and cultural terms, or in combinations thereof. ...

He explained that the truth-conscience enters the man not with genes and not by upbringing: if conscience depended on upbringing then many people would not have known about it at all. It enters the man with a bearer of the common knowledge of good and evil, of the truth - with a common thing - human language. To his opinion, the answer about human conscience is as follows: a man obtains the moral law, which is conscience, through his native language. His consciousness, his self-consciousness, and his soul are forming during the obtaining of speech, his consciousness and his speech - are practically the same thing. In speech and in the language all major images of good and evil, the concept of the truth as well as a concept of the law is available; these concepts and images are becoming a child's own consciousness similar to language. Studying language, its lively phrases, its proverbs, perceiving the folklore, art and literature of his nation, a child is absorbing a common message of good and evil, - his conscience - and besides, he doesn't notice that, it seems to him that conscience occurred somehow by itself. For other uses, see Gene (disambiguation). ... Look up native in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Consciousness is a quality of the mind generally regarded to comprise qualities such as subjectivity, self-awareness, sentience, sapience, and the ability to perceive the relationship between oneself and ones environment. ... For other uses, see Soul (disambiguation). ... Bold text This article does not cite any references or sources. ...

Soloveychik wrote, "A child sinking in a moral atmosphere of language and culture absorbs drops of the ocean of public consciousness. Genius people by their immense life work raises to such highs of the truth, that these great people are called the conscience of humankind. But both a two year old child, who feels something similar to a sense of guilt for the first time, and a well-known writer, who is called a guardian of human conscience, drink from the same source of common human knowledge of the truth." [6].

Conscientious acts

A conscientious objector is an individual whose personal beliefs are incompatible with military service, or sometimes with any role in the armed forces. The reasons for refusing to serve are varied. Many conscientious objectors are so for religious reasons—notably, members of the historic peace churches are pacifist by doctrine. Other objections can stem from a deep sense of responsibility toward humanity as a whole, or from simple denial that any government should have that kind of moral authority. John T. Neufeld was a WWI conscientious objector sentenced to 15 years hard labour in the military prison at Leavenworth. ... Peace churches are Christian churches, groups or communities advocating pacifism. ...

Amnesty International has created the term prisoner of conscience to mean a person imprisoned for their conscientious beliefs. Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Amnesty international Amnesty International (commonly known as Amnesty or AI) is an international non-governmental organization which defines its mission as to undertake research and action focused on preventing and ending grave abuses of the rights to physical and mental integrity, freedom of conscience... Prisoner of conscience (POC) is a term coined by the human rights pressure group Amnesty International in the early 1960s. ...


In law, a conscience clause is a clause in a law that relieves an individual from complying with the law if it is incompatible with religious or conscientious beliefs.

World Conscience

World conscience is the idea that with global communication we as a people will no longer be estranged from one another, whether it be culturally, ethnically, or geographically. Instead, we will approach the world as a place in which we all live, and with newly gained understanding of each other we will begin to make decisions based on what is beneficial for all people.

Related to this idea is the idea of world consciousness. It too, looks at people in terms of the collective, but refers more to the universal ideas of the cosmos, instead of the interconnectedness of choice.In other words, conscience is 'inner voice'


In the Flash animation series Blockhead, the title character's conscience says that a conscience "is someone who hates you, but can't do anything about it".


  1. ^ See Hannah Arendt, Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil (1963)
  2. ^ Vision Circle: The Neural Basis of Human Moral Cognition
  3. ^ Wild Justice and Fair Play: Animal Origins of Social Morality. Retrieved on 2007-01-16.
  4. ^ Linden, Eugene. The Parrot's Lament : And Other True Tales of Animal Intrigue, Intelligence, and Ingenuity. ISBN 0452280680. 
  5. ^ Von Kreisler, Kristin. The Compassion of Animals: True Stories of Animal Courage and Kindness. ISBN 0761518088. 
  6. ^ Simon Soloveychik, A chapter on Conscience http://www.parentingforeveryone.com/book2part2ch12 (1986)

Hannah Arendt (October 14, 1906 – December 4, 1975) was a German Jewish political theorist. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era in the 21st century. ... is the 16th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Eugene Linden is an American author of several non-fiction books, including: The Winds of Change: Climate, Weather, and the Destruction of Civilizations The Octopus and the Orangutan: More True Tales of Animal Intrigue, Intelligence, and Ingenuity The Parrots Lament and Other True Tales of Animal Intrigue, Intelligence, and... SIMON LVOVICH SOLOVEICHIK (1930-1996) Simon Lvovich Soloveichik died at the age of 66 on October 18, 1996, following a brief hospitalization for chronic health problems. ...

See also

Consciousness is a quality of the mind generally regarded to comprise qualities such as subjectivity, self-awareness, sentience, sapience, and the ability to perceive the relationship between oneself and ones environment. ... Conscientiousness is the trait of being painstaking and careful, or the quality of being in accord with the dictates of ones conscience. ... Moral values are things held to be right or wrong or desirable or undesirable. ... “Guilty” redirects here. ... For other uses, see Ethics (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Freedom. ... The concept of the Inner Light is central to many versions of Quaker (or Religious Society of Friends) theology. ... For other persons named John Locke, see John Locke (disambiguation). ... An Essay Concerning Human Understanding is one of John Lockes two most famous works, the other being his Second Treatise on Civil Government. ... The Light of Christ is a doctrine of the Latter Day Saint movement, including The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, that most people would call conscience. ... Morality (from the Latin manner, character, proper behavior) has three principal meanings. ... Ethics is a general term for what is often described as the science (study) of morality. In philosophy, ethical behavior is that which is good or right. ... Disgust is an emotion, typically associated with things that are perceived as unclean or inedible. ... Original Sin redirects here. ... For other uses, see Reason (disambiguation). ...

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  Results from FactBites:
Center for Consciousness Center . Tucson . Arizona (147 words)
Toward a Science of Consciousness July 23-27, 2007 - Budapest, Hungary George Kampis, Hungarian Foundation for Cognitive Science, Eotvos University
Al was a wonderful man and a good friend who pioneered nonlinear science and emergence and applied them to the study of consciousness.
Al’s book “Stairway to the Mind” is the classic work on emergence of consciousness, and his last book “The nonlinear universe” will appear later this year.
CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Consciousness (2301 words)
Consciousness in the wide sense has come to be recognized in modern times as the subject-matter of a special science, psychology; or, more definitely, phenomenal or empirical psychology.
Whilst these attempts to reach quantitative measurement-- characteristic of the exact sciences--in the study of consciousness have not been directly very fruitful in new results, they have nevertheless been indirectly valuable in stimulating the pursuit of greater accuracy and precision in all methods of observing and registering the phenomena of consciousness.
The contention, however, that all states of consciousness, though not "secretions" or "products" of matter, are yet forms of activity which have their ultimate source in the brain and are intrinsically and absolutely dependent on the latter is not disposed of by this reasoning.
  More results at FactBites »



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