conscience


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Legal, Idioms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.

conscience

 [kon´shens]
1. an inner moral sense that distinguishes right acts from wrong. Difficulties arise in how the conscience decides between good and bad. Conscience is not always an adequate justification for action.
2. the internalization of parental and social norms, related to the Freudian concept of superego; this conception of conscience has no role in ethical deliberation.
3. in bioethics, the exercise and expression of a reflective sense of integrity, constitutive of reflection about the relationship between a specific course of action and a particular idea of the self and one's integrity. Appeals to conscience presume a prior decision about the rightness or wrongness of an act. Justification is adequate if it is based on universalizable principles; if justification is founded on religious beliefs, personal ideas, or a particular way of life, others cannot be held to them.

conscience

/con·science/ (kon´shins) the nontechnical term for the moral faculty of the mind, corresponding roughly to the superego; differing in that the operations of the superego are often unconscious, unlike the ordinary conception of conscience.

conscience

(kŏn′shəns)
n.
1.
a. An awareness of morality in regard to one's behavior; a sense of right and wrong that urges one to act morally: Let your conscience be your guide.
b. A source of moral or ethical judgment or pronouncement: a document that serves as the nation's conscience.
c. Conformity to one's own sense of right conduct: a person of unflagging conscience.
2. The part of the superego in psychoanalysis that judges the ethical nature of one's actions and thoughts and then transmits such determinations to the ego for consideration.

con′science·less adj.

conscience

Etymology: L, conscientia, to be privy to information
1 the moral, self-critical sense of what is right and wrong.
2 (in psychoanalysis) the part of the superego system that monitors thoughts, feelings, and actions and measures them against internalized values and standards.
References in classic literature ?
The director of her conscience was astounded at having the case presented to him thus with the simplicity of Columbus' egg.
I'm glad of that," said Jim; "for I, also, have a conscience, and it tells me not to crush in your skull with a blow of my powerful hoof.
You have a good conscience, friend Horse," it said, "and if you attend to its teachings it will do much to protect you from harm.
Nay,' quoth Conscience to the King, and kneeled to the
So at length Conscience set forth to bring Reason to decide.
My conscience would never be easy if I kept silent on the subject.
Must the citizen ever for a moment, or in the least degree, resign his conscience to the legislator?
And the discussion of a knotty point in the court of conscience.
Spirit, hath the actor, but little conscience of the spirit.
Lord Dawlish, if he had been able to diagnose correctly the almost paternal attitude which had become his host's normal manner these days, would have been equally embarrassed but less startled, for conscience had already suggested to him from time to time that he had been guilty of a feeling toward Elizabeth warmer than any feeling that should come to an engaged man.
Suppose my conscience should not allow me to keep to myself any longer what that upstart girl told me of the Secretary's having made a declaration to her.
And it was a notable observation of a wise father, and no less ingenuously confessed; that those which held and persuaded pressure of consciences, were commonly interested therein.