Modern Moral Conscience

International Journal of Philosophical Studies 26 (4):582-600 (2018)
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This article challenges the individualism and neutrality of modern moral conscience. It looks to the history of the concept to excavate an older tradition that takes conscience to be social and morally responsive, while arguing that dominant contemporary justifications of conscience in terms of integrity are inadequate without reintroducing these social and moral traits. This prompts a rethinking of the nature and value of conscience: first, by demonstrating that a morally-responsive conscience is neither a contradiction in terms nor a political absurdity; second, by suggesting how a morally-responsive conscience can be informed by the social world without being a mere proxy for social power or moribund tradition.

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Tom O'Shea
University of Edinburgh


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