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Flashcards in Conscience Deck (23)
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Aquinas conscience

Recta Ratio
Vincible error
Invincible error


What is recta ratio?

Innate reason that we are born with



Conscience deriving from secondary precepts and applying them


What is vinncible error?

Knowingly doing something wrong


What is invincible error?

Unknowingly doing something wrong


What is Aquinas idea of practica ratio?

Practica ratio is using reason in practice. The practical way of thinking through how that which should be done. There is a close relationship between conscience and practical reason.


What is Aquinas means by prudence and how it relates to conscience?

Prudence involves three intellectual skills; understanding judgement and good deliberation. Achieving what our judgement tells is we ought to do- did we perform the right action in the circumstances?
Lack of prudence leads to do wrong things


How is Aquinas view similar but different from that of Joseph Fletcher conscript of conscience?

Aquinas says ‘conscience is an act’ which is applied from knowledge. One way is that we recognise what we have done or not done something.
Joseph Fletcher’s concept of conscience is treated as a verb, rather than an action. However, Aquinas believes that it’s also about our past actions (what we’ve done and not done).


How do Synderesis and conscientia function in making moral decision?

Synderesis is the natural inclination to do good and avoid evil, part of God’s will.
Conscientia (conscience)= practical reason which tells us what to do in a particular situations- not infallible, can be corrupted.

Aquinas thought we can cultivate Synderesis within ourselves so that it becomes a habit or part of our character.


Why does Aquinas say we must always follow our conscience?

We can never know that our conscience is wrong.
To act against it is to do what we believe to be wrong, which goes against the will.
Main thing that makes an act good or not is the motive.


To what extent is the Thomist view of conscience dependent on belief in God?

Conscience is god-given but NOT the voice of God


Aquinas idea about vincibly ignorant?

Potentially blameworthy. This is ignorance which is avoidable and correctable. E.g. killing in another country because u didn’t know it was illegal i.e. murder is wrong.


Aquinas idea about invincibly ignorant?

Ignorance which cannot be overcome by my own efforts and I cannot be blamed. E.g. gave someone a plane ticket and they died.


For Aquinas what are the implications for morality and religious belief of giving primacy to conscience?

Helping us to develop our character. Flourish in the next- beatific vision.


Freud’s psychological approach to conscience

Psychosexual development
Super ego
The Oedipus complex and relation to conscience
Conscience is simply the consequence of unconscience desires
Freudian account of guilt and conscience



Basic physical needs e.g food sex



Rational, self, capable of exercising some control over id


Super ego

Voice of society; values conditioned by parents



Sexual desire


What is the Oedipus complex?

Prophesied that he will kill his father and sleep with his mother


How is the Oedipus complex linked into conscience?

Freud thought that the way the mind works is closely linked to the stage of psycho sexual development.
The child repressed the emotional trauma caused by the emotional trauma caused by the Oedipus complex and this influences the way we think and behave- the interplay of the id.


Explain the Freudian account of guilt and conscience?

Freud believed that conscience is clearly connected with the sense of guilt we have when we go against our conscience and is a construct of the mind.
The more Oedipus complex is repressed by authority that stricter the rules of super ego over the ego- stronger the sense of the moral and of conscience rejecting


Whether Freudian approach to conscience permits us to ascribe moral responsibility to ethical decision making?

Leaves us any room for the possibility, as discussed by Aquinas. If our behaviours and judgements are simply the result of conflict in our sub-conscience and unconscience could we ever justly hold someone accountable.