Conscience

A philosophical investigation of conscience raises a number of questions: Where does conscience come from? Is it infallible? How does it relate to reason? Freudian psychology suggests that conscience is formed by our upbringing which converts a sense of shame into a belief that certain things are wrong. We can call this an environmental view of conscience. Others, such as Joseph Butler or John Henry Newman, agree with Aquinas that conscience is innate. But Aquinas has two ideas of conscience and two words that go with them: synderesis (the idea that we are born with an innate desire to choose good and avoid evil), and conscientia (the idea that we use our reason to exercise right judgement).

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