By Lawrence Kohlberg (auth.), Gerhard Zecha, Paul Weingartner (eds.)

Value swap and uncertainty concerning the validity of conventional ethical convictions are usually saw whilst clinical re­ seek confronts us with new ethical difficulties or demanding situations the ethical accountability of the scientist. Which ethics is to be trusted? Which ideas are the main moderate, the main humane ones? For wish of a suitable solution, ethical gurus of­ ten element to judgment of right and wrong, the person moral sense, which appears to be like man's specific, at once available and ultimate resource of ethical rivalry. yet what's intended through 'conscience'? there's hardly ever a idea as frequent and even as arguable as that of moral sense. within the historical past of ethics we will be able to distinguish a number of traits within the interpretation of the concept that and serve as of moral sense. The Greeks used the notice O"uvEt81lm~ to indicate one of those 'accompa­ nying wisdom' that in general stated negatively skilled habit. In Latin, the expression conscientia intended a figuring out­ jointly pointing past the person recognition to the typical wisdom of different humans. within the Bible, specifically within the New testomony, O"uvEt81l0"t~ is used for the guiding con­ sciousness of the morality of one's personal action.

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Reidel Publishing Company. © 1987 by D. 28 JOSEF FUCHS ness of actual behavior and of freely perfonned life. The conscience is, consequently, throughout understood as being an authority governing the conduct of life. Today we are more aware than in the past of the fact that the conscience is not the only authority governing the way life is conducted. There are other authorities which determine our conduct in life and which do not calion the freedom of the human being. Behavioral research shows, for instance, that certain behavior in humans and animals is based on biological factors4 which pretend to be something of an ethical order but which are not ethical orientation; astonishing cases of 'selfless' behavior within personal relationships and society are not necessarily ethical and conscientious acts - certainly not with animals, and also not with human beings.

THE PHENOMENON OF CONSCIENCE 35 Object-orientation is basically the tendency to more or less identify conscience with practical reason. Conversely, the formulation which grants that the moral subject is constituted in the conscience is clearly subject-orientated. This subject-orientation logically precedes the object-orientation. 2 Subject-Orientated Conscience - The Basic Phenomenon In order to comprehend the true essence of the conscience-phenomenon one is obliged, as already indicated above, to return to the matter concerning the human being's deep-seated self-consciousness.

Goiser, Gewissen und objektive Sittenordnung. Zum Begrif/ des Gewissens in der neueren katholischen Moraltheologie, Vienna 1975. 4 Cf. H. ', in J. ), Das Gewissen. Vorgegebene Norm verantwortlichen Handelns oder Produkt gesellschaftlicher Zwiinge? Dusseldorf 1979,9-18. 5 Cf. J. Fuchs, Das Gewissen, op. , Foreword. 6J. W. Glaser, 'Conscience and Super-Ego: A Key Distinction', in Theological Studies 32 (1971), 30-47. THE PHENOMENON OF CONSCIENCE 47 7 Thomas Aquinas, In Eth. , 1. , n. 1131. Cf. also the essay by D.

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