Conscience In Libertarianism Analysis

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Examine the role of conscience in Libertarianism (30 marks) Conscience can be defined as our belief on what is right and what is wrong. Butler stated that there is a principle working inside of us, it helps us “disprove or approve of actions... this principle in man is conscience”. This suggests that conscience is a final moral decision maker. In Libertarianism it is explained that we have complete freedom to act morally therefore we are morally responsible for our action. It is argued that conscience is the only true influence inside of us over our actions and that we should act with integrity and in a way that fits our principles and beliefs. Because it is a principle that works inside of us it is still us making the decisions making…show more content…
For example, if I hold the view that killing is wrong then I cannot be expected to fight in a war as it would undermine my views and conscience. This view is also universally recognised in Libertarianism, so much so that if a doctor is asked to carry out an abortion they are completely entitled to deny it if it goes against their own individual conscience. John Stuart Mill is an influential figure in Libertarianism and argued that the erosion of conscience from state or social pressure is wrong. If we are crushed by the majority then our free will is taken away. For instance, Mill argued that the way the government mislead and mistreated its society in Nazi Germany crushed the dignity and free will and forced them to do certain things that they may have believed to be…show more content…
Determinists especially would say that all of our actions work on a cause and effect basis therefore our conscience is not the only influence. John Locke used the example of the man waking up in a locked room to explain this. This example would show that we may think we can make free decisions that are a result of our conscience but we are actually unaware of the causes that lie behind our actions. In this man’s case, it was the locked door that stopped him from leaving. Furthermore, the idea of conscience can be limited through feelings such as guilt. Our actions may be influence if we feel guilty about something. For instance, telling a friend what they want to hear rather than the actual truth. Similarly, some political laws will limit our conscience as we have no choice but to live by them. It is argued that if we yield to this pressure it limits our
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