The Moral Nature Of

By the moral nature of man we mean those powers which fit him for right or wrong action. These powers are intellect, sensibility and will, together with that peculiar power of discrimination and impulsion, which we call conscience. In order to moral action, man has intellect or reason, to discern the difference between right and wrong, the sensibility to be moved by each of these and the free will to do the one or the other. Intellect, sensibility and will are man?s three faculties. In connection with these faculties there is a sort of activity which involves them all and without which there can be no moral action, namely, the activity of conscience. Conscience applies the moral law to particular cases in our personal experience and proclaims that law as binding upon us. Only a rational and sentient being can be truly moral yet it does not come within our province to treat of man?s intellect or sensibility in general. We speak here only of Conscience and of Will.

1. Conscience.

A. Conscience an accompanying knowledge. As already intimated, conscience is not a separate faculty, like intellect, sensibility and will, but rather a mode in which these faculties act. Like consciousness, conscience is an accompanying knowledge. Conscience is a knowing of self (including our acts and states) in connection with a moral standard or law. Adding now the element of feeling, we may say that conscience is man?s consciousness of his own moral relations, together with a peculiar feeling in view of them. It thus involves the combined action of the intellect and of the sensibility, and that in view of a certain class of objects, viz.: right and wrong.

There is no separate ethical faculty any more than there is a separate or aesthetic faculty. Conscience is like taste: it has to do with moral being

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