Relation between Individual and Society
is “primarily a matter of individual conscience” and “does not protect every . The human person is more important than the racial, national, . Although the absence of references to any particular school of natural law thinking was .. and from his relationships as a social being” that the human. Conscience is a cognitive process that elicits emotion and rational associations based on an .. Lawrence Kohlberg considered critical conscience to be an important . Aquinas also discussed conscience in relation to the virtue of prudence to in human nature: first,"self-love" (seeking individual happiness) and second. 'Conscience' is not a personal power to define or determine what is right and wrong, So long as it is understood as an aspect of human choice that is ordered to 'Morality' seems especially important here—the basis for the behavior must be the nature of a 'moral' objection to, say, mandatory conscription in the army?.
Defining and Protecting Conscience Question 1: Defining and Protecting Conscience In Fallthe Undergraduate Fellows enrolled in the Law, Religion, and Liberty of Conscience Seminar interviewed experts about the role of conscience in American life, law and politics. Below are some of their responses to the students' first question: What is conscience, and what elements of conscience deserve protection from a legal perspective?
If I had to respond in a couple of sentences, I guess I'd say something very conventional sounding: Conscience is a person's considered and sincere judgment about right and wrong, and an enlightened constitutional regime would try to protect it from regulation.
I don't think this is quite right. Conscience is the dimension of the intellect that guides an individual to choose truth over falsehood, right over wrong, good over evil. So long as it is understood as an aspect of human choice that is ordered to objective truth—i. Because of the First Amendment, the American constitution privileges protection of the religious conscience over other forms. If that is to change, it should be done via democratic means, not by judicial fiat.
Conscience is a difficult term to define for legal purposes, making it an equally complicated affair to know what does and does not deserve protection. The secular approach to conscience includes psychologicalphysiologicalsociologicalhumanitarianand authoritarian views.
Charles Darwin considered that conscience evolved in humans to resolve conflicts between competing natural impulses-some about self-preservation but others about safety of a family or community; the claim of conscience to moral authority emerged from the "greater duration of impression of social instincts" in the struggle for survival. Thus, nationalism is invoked in conscience to quell tribal conflict and the notion of a Brotherhood of Man is invoked to quell national conflicts.
Yet such crowd drives may not only overwhelm but redefine individual conscience. We evolved as tribal groups surrounded by enemies; thus conscience evolved a dual role; the duty to save and protect members of the in-groupand the duty to show hatred and aggression towards any out-group.
An interesting area of research in this context concerns the similarities between our relationships and those of animalswhether animals in human society petsworking animalseven animals grown for food or in the wild.
He subsequently reinforced this idea through the lense of the gene-centered view of evolutionsince the unit of natural selection is neither an individual organism nor a group, but rather the "selfish" geneand these genes could ensure their own "selfish" survival by, inter alia, pushing individuals to act altruistically towards its kin.
Obviously, the intellect could not afford to give in to the instincts, and unable to understand and thus explain why its experiments Page 60 of PDF Version in self-adjustment were necessary, the conscious intellect had no way of refuting the implicit criticism from the instincts even though it knew it was unjust.
Until the conscious mind found the redeeming understanding of why it had to defy the instincts namely the scientific understanding of the difference in the way genes and nerves process information, that one is an orientating learning system while the other is an insightful learning systemthe intellect was left having to endure a psychologically distressed, upset condition, with no choice but to defy that opposition from the instincts.
In short—and to return to our human situation because we were the species that acquired the fully conscious mind—the psychologically upset angry, alienated and egocentric human-condition-afflicted state appeared. We became ego-centric, self-centred or selfish, preoccupied with aggressively competing for opportunities to prove we are good and not bad—we unavoidably became selfish, aggressive and competitive.
What is so exonerating, rehabilitating and healing about this explanation of the human condition is that we can finally appreciate that there was a very good reason for our angry, alienated and egocentric behaviour—in fact, we can now see why we have not just been ego-centric, but ego-infuriated, even ego-gone-mad-with-murderous-anger for having to live with so much unjust criticism.
From being competitive, selfish and aggressive, humans return to being cooperative, selfless and loving.
Our round of departure has ended. With understanding of the human condition we can now safely explain the truthful biological origins of our unconditionally selfless, fully altruistic, genuinely moral instinctive conscience.
The question for biology is how could we humans have developed an unconditionally selfless, fully altruistic, truly loving, genuinely moral instinctive conscience? How can such instinctive behaviour possibly develop when the fundamental biological assumption is that unconditionally selfless instinctive traits cannot develop genetically because self-sacrificing traits tend to self-eliminate and for a trait to develop and become established in a species it needs to reproduce and carry on?
The most selflessness that can seemingly be developed genetically is reciprocity, where, as mentioned, an animal behaves selflessly on the condition it will be treated selflessly in return, thus ensuring its continuation from generation to generation, which means the trait is, as pointed out, intrinsically selfish. So, how did humans develop unconditionally selfless instincts? The mother is giving her offspring food, warmth, shelter, support and protection for apparently nothing in return.
Conscience - Wikipedia
And then, with this training in unconditional selflessness occurring over many generations, the unconditionally selfless behaviour will become instinctive—a moral conscience will be established.
Genes will inevitably follow and reinforce any development process—in this they are not selective. The difficulty is in getting the development of unconditional selflessness to occur in the first place, for once it is regularly occurring it will naturally become instinctive over time.
Zebras, for example, have to be capable of independent flight almost as soon as they are born, which gives them little opportunity to be trained in selflessness. The exceptionally maternal, matriarchal, cooperatively behaved, peaceful bonobo chimpanzee species provide a living example of a species in the midst of developing this training-in-love process.