Conscience

Conscience is an aptitude, faculty, intuition or judgment of the intellect that distinguishes right from wrong. Moral judgment may derive from values or norms (principles and rules). In psychological terms conscience is often described as leading to feelings of remorse when a human commits actions that go against his/her moral values and to feelings of rectitude or integrity when actions conform to such norms. The extent to which conscience informs moral judgment before an action and whether such moral judgments are or should be based in reason has occasioned debate through much of the history of Western philosophy.

Religious views of conscience usually see it as linked to a morality inherent in all humans, to a beneficent universe and/or to divinity. The diverse ritualistic, mythical, doctrinal, legal, institutional and material features of religion may not necessarily cohere with experiential, emotive, spiritual or contemplative considerations about the origin and operation of conscience. Common secular or scientific views regard the capacity for conscience as probably genetically determined, with its subject probably learned or imprinted (like language) as part of a culture.

Commonly used metaphors for conscience include the "voice within" and the "inner light". Conscience, as is detailed in sections below, is a concept in national and international law, is increasingly conceived of as applying to the world as a whole, has motivated numerous notable acts for the public good and been the subject of many prominent examples of literature, music and film.

Read more about Conscience:  Religious, Secular and Philosophical Views About Conscience, Religious Views, Secular Views, Philosophical Views, Conscientious Acts and The Law, World Conscience, Notable Examples of Modern Acts Based On Conscience, Conscience in Literature, Art, Film, and Music

Famous quotes containing the word conscience:

    In my conscience I believe the baggage loves me, for she never speaks well of me herself, nor suffers any body else to rail at me.
    William Congreve (1670–1729)

    Of smale houndes hadde she that she fedde
    With rosted flessh, or milk and wastel-breed.
    But soore wepte she if oon of hem were deed,
    Or if men smoot it with a yerde smerte—
    And al was conscience and tendre herte.
    Geoffrey Chaucer (1340?–1400)

    For the longest time, marriage has had a guilty conscience about itself. Should we believe it?—Yes, we should believe it.
    Friedrich Nietzsche (1844–1900)