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.
Miller-Keane Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing, and Allied Health, Seventh Edition. © 2003 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier, Inc. All rights reserved.

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.
The American Heritage® Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2007, 2004 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Indeed, we might be reminded of the teachings of Leo XIII, that those who accept the Catholic faith in conscience are consequently obligated, in conscience, to obedience to that faith (SC, 4).
In a statement Cardinal Hume explained that he had not refused the sacrament because the man was homosexual, but because he was using the Mass to seek public endorsement of a private decision made in conscience. Said the Cardinal: "No one has the right to demand that the Church should publicly endorse their private decisions in conscience, when that decision is not in accord with the teaching of the Church." (Tablet, June 7, 97)