Assess Critically the Role and Nature of Conscience in Moral Decision Making

Topics: Decision making, Sigmund Freud, Philosophy Pages: 2 (725 words) Published: December 19, 2012
Assess critically the role and nature of conscience in moral decision making. There are many different perspectives in moral decision making in terms of the conscience. The conscience’s main contributors are from both religious and Christian standpoints. There are a range of perspectives in the Christian views on the conscience some on one side believing the conscience is God telling man what to do and another the side still in correlation with God believing man is endowed with a technique to access the right the thing. Saint Paul and Augustine both share similarities in believing that the conscience is the law of God written in the heart of man. However, they differ in the fault of the conscience; Paul acknowledges the conscience can be wrong whereas Augustine sees it as purely down to disobedience towards God. Cardinal Newman stands between the two extremes within the Christian standpoint on conscience as he shares similarities to the ideas of Aquinas and of Butler whereby it is special and more intuitive like Butler can we ‘detect’ what the right thing to do is. Cardinal Newman is an example of quandary in Catholicism as he holds the conscience extremely dear “a toast to the conscience and then the pope.” Butler was greatly inspired by the work of Aquinas as he also sets out two principles and acknowledges what humans strive for, he believes this is benevolence. He identifies two driving factors to the conscience this is self-love and benevolence and benevolence which is concerned with others Butler would say is this best route of good moral decision making. The nature and role Aquinas’s ethics plays in the Christian conscience is a prominent and adaptable one as it can also appeal to secular and extremely well-reasoned therefore resourceful. As the inspiration for many other Christian thinkers on conscience Aquinas uses recta- ratio to address moral reasoning. He believes that humans follow the syndersis rule which is that they naturally seek to do good...
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