Critically Assess the Claim That Conscience Is the Voice of Reason

1069 Words5 Pages
Critically assess the claim that Conscience is the Voice of Reason. Conscience has been questioned for many years and no one has universally accepted an answer to this question this making any subsequent discussion about the nature and purpose of the conscience both complex and controversial. Conscience over time has been associated with and described as an innate ‘feeling’ that guides us toward right actions and away from inherently wrong ones. It is thought that if these ‘feelings’ are ignored, typically by a young child, we feel guilt as we are lead to committing something morally or ethically wrong. Many philosophers have tried to distinguish the source of our conscience but have all concluded with different theories. Some for instance believe the conscience to be the voice of God; others believe it to be a human faculty, a special moral sense or even the voice of reason. Some see morally ‘good’ behaviour as the practical answer to a moral dilemma. They would argue that the ‘right’ or ‘best’ course of action is seen through the use of what we call, ‘common sense.’ They would also regard the use of the conscience as the process by which this decision making, between ‘right’ and ‘evil,’ takes place. Some however may question, how do you name a conscience if it is not a physical matter and one cannot distinguish where it originates from? One of the two main philosophers to support that conscience is the voice of reason is Thomas Aquinas. Aquinas believed the conscience primarily to be a substance of reason; a moral guide that has been placed in us by God in order to make us more inclined to do his will here on earth. He believed that at conception or at some later stage, God gives each person a conscience to be able to discern morally right and wrong. Does this mean then that people who do not have faith or a believe in God are consciousness? However, he
Open Document