Evaluation of the Claim that Conscience is a Realiable Guide in Ethical Decision Making

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Evaluation of the Claim that Conscience is a Realiable Guide in Ethical Decision Making In order to decide whether or not our consciences can be relied upon, we must first examine what we mean by conscience. In order for conscience to be consistently and absolutely reliable, infallible, it must stem from an infallible source - God. Alternatively, conscience might have a potential of ultimate reliability, if the faculty of conscience was dynamic and capable of solving problems i.e. if it was an innate part of human nature. Conscience could even be totally fallible - an arbitrary by-product of experience and biology. This idea - propagated by such scientist-thinkers as Sigmund Freud and…show more content…
The implication of this is that the law of conscience is not routed in any kind of rational or logical idioms, or any external reality, but rather the fear of castration, or the insecurity which women (supposedly) experience as they have been deprived of the phallus. For Freud, the conscience, or Super-Ego, was an irrational, undynamic and emotional force, of as much consequence as the Id in matters of gravity. The conscience in this case points towards one's responsibilities to one's parents, not to God or any exterior moral laws. Freud, in answer to this essay question, would say that the conscience is completely unreliable, unless you simply wish to rely on it as a barometer of social acceptability. If your view of ethics is restricted to what is inoffensive to people at large, and your parents in particular, then yes, the Super-Ego is a reliable agent of ethical decision-making. But if you wish to consult your super-ego on an issue which your parents never ad an opinion on - be it birth control, capital punishment or forgiveness - then you will find your Super-Ego of little use. Piaget, although often hailed as a pre-eminent child psychologist, and required reading for all trainee teachers, was in fact and epistemologist. He believed that we

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