conscience

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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

(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.
References in classic literature ?
It establisheth faith; it kindleth charity; the outward peace of the church, distilleth into peace of conscience; and it turneth the labors of writing, and reading of controversies, into treaties of mortification and devotion.
He continued the treatment throughout the day, and by dinner-time had arranged everything with his conscience in the most satisfactory manner possible.
"'Nay,' quoth Conscience to the King, and kneeled to the ground,
So at length Conscience set forth to bring Reason to decide.
His conscience, however, immediately started at this suggestion, and began to upbraid him with ingratitude to his benefactor.
By this friendly aid of Fear, Conscience obtained a compleat victory in the mind of Black George, and, after making him a few compliments on his honesty, forced him to deliver the money to Jones.
"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."
The director of her conscience was astounded at having the case presented to him thus with the simplicity of Columbus' egg.
We might say (without in the least imputing crime to a personage of his eminent respectability) that there was enough of splendid rubbish in his life to cover up and paralyze a more active and subtile conscience than the Judge was ever troubled with.
When literature becomes a duty it ceases to be a passion, and all the schoolmastering in the world, solemnly addressed to the conscience, cannot make the fact otherwise.
How- ever, even inquests went out of vogue at last, and ceased to torture Tom's conscience.
"I can imagine nothing more unpleasant than to own a Conscience," and he winked slyly at his friend the Lion.