Conscience can be divided into three theories, one being ‘an awareness of what is good and bad ‘believed by St. Paul, secondly the conscience is the power to distinguish good from evil believed by St. Jerome and thirdly, the conscience is the voice of God, believed by St. Augustine. Thomas Aquinas thought that the conscience is a device for distinguishing our right actions from our wrong ones, he believed that we all obey the synderesis rule which means that we all have a innate awareness of good and bad that cannot be mistaken, this is why he reckoned that people do generally tend towards the good and away from evil. However Aristotle had not realized that mistakes can be made when working out what is good and what is evil, as it would be unlikely for every single human being to agree on what is right and wrong. Our conscience does not command our action of choosing right or wrong, but is ‘reason making the right decision’. In relation to the moral Argument, Immanuel Kant said that we all have a sense of moral law. If we feel we ought to do something, this can prove that we have free will, which allows us and our conscience to make the correct decisions when deciding upon the rightness or wrongness of a situation/outcome. But to be free allows for some mistakes, Aquinas agrees that the conscience is infallible, that it is not the voice of god, but it is part of our God given make up.
Joseph Butler agreed with Aquinas about our conscience being innate, and that God gave it to us, but his views are more intuitive than Aquinas’s. Joseph Butler thought that our conscience helps us focus on others rather than ourselves, it has the ultimate authority in ethical judgments and situations. Butler believed our conscience is our own personal guide to our moral behavior, which stems back to Kants Moral argument that it is our duty to follow it. The conscience for Butler was at the top of our human hierarchy of needs,