The notion of conscience remains one of the most widely used moral concepts and a cornerstone of ordinary moral thinking. This book explores where this widespread confidence in conscience stems from, examining the history of conscience as a moral concept and its characteristic moral phenomenology.
Jason Howard provides a comprehensive reassessment of the function of conscience in moral life, detailing along the way the manifold problems that arise when we believe our conscience is more reliable than is actually warranted.
The result is a step-by-step evaluation of our most accepted assumptions. Howard goes on to argue, from a phenomenological perspective, that conscience is indispensable for understanding moral experience. He capitalizes on a dialectical perspective developed by Hegel and Ricoeur, in which conscience is seen as the recognition of the other, and integrates this with work in the philosophy of emotion, arguing that conscience is best seen in terms of the function it serves in moderating the moral emotions of shame, guilt and pride.
Dedication and Acknowledgments / Introduction: Considering the Place of Conscience / 1. A Quick History of Conscience and the Rise of the Faculty View / 2. Problems with the Faculty View of Conscience / 3. Moral Emotions and the Connection to Conscience / 4. Conscience and Our Convictions / 5. Conscience as a Right and its Reification in the Law / 6. Living with our Convictions / Works Cited / Index
This is an impressive study of conscience as both a thought-provoking and indispensable moral concept. It brings scholarly weight and philosophical intelligence to bear on conscience as a somewhat neglected theme in moral philosophy ... Very thoughtful, philosophically provocative, and warmly recommended.
This very well-written and timely book focuses on a concept that is central to our day-to-day moral thinking: ‘conscience’. Drawing on the work of thinkers such as Hegel, Ricoeur and Rawls, the author offers an original and carefully-reasoned account of the nature, history and functions of conscience ... The result is a work of deep scholarship, which forms the basis of a much-need applied philosophy and which has relevance across academic disciplines.
In this masterful work, Jason J. Howard argues that conscience is necessary for comprehending moral experience ... [his] text will become the point of departure for all future work on conscience.
Jason J. Howard is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at Viterbo University, La Crosse, USA. He has published articles on Hegel, Kant, and Schelling, as well as in the areas of philosophy of emotion, moral education, aesthetics, and the philosophy of film.