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A2 Religious Ethics Revision Conscience 2 JOSEPH BUTLER (1692 - 1752)

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2 A2 Religious Ethics Revision Conscience 2

3 JOSEPH BUTLER (1692 - 1752)

4 Joseph Butler was Bishop of Durham from 1750 and a supporter of ‘natural theology’ – a system of theology based on reason alone, without the support of revelation

5 Butler argued that the conscience is the means by which an individual makes a moral decision

6 Butler Every human being has the ability to reflect on moral issues, and they have an awareness of two basic, and possibly conflicting, principles, self-love self-love and love of others love of others (benevolence)

7 Butler Conscience directs us towards concentrating on the interests of others and away from love of self

8 Butler People do not normally choose to do evil

9 Butler Rather, they pursue their own interests or cause with which they identify evil evil is a by-product of this.

10 Problem! Butler’s hypothesis appears to have been proved wrong in the events of recent history, in which people quite clearly appear to have chosen evil over good

11 Ian Huntley & Maxine Carr (the Soham murders) Peter and Rosemary West Peter Sutcliffe (The Yorkshire Ripper)

12 SELF-LOVE The desire for happiness for the self It is not a passion or emotional response, nor is it merely instinctive

13 SELF-LOVE Is when a person ‘can reflect upon themselves, and their own interest or happiness, so as to have that interest an object to their minds’

14 BENEVOLENCE The desire for the happiness of others (altruism)

15 Conscience ‘adjudicates’ between these two interests

16 guide It behaves as a guide gift from God a gift from God to show the way towards the good

17 Because it is from God, it should be obeyed without question

18 IIIIt has universal authority in all moral judgements

19 How do we know it? Through INTUITION

20 The mind is able to perceive abstract concepts or truths normally believed to be beyond empirical experience

21 What Butler believed While Aquinas argued that conscience was the ‘voice of reason Butler stated that conscience derived from intuition

22 What Butler believed Individuals make moral decisions without any thought to the sanctions of an external law

23 What Butler believed Man is a law unto himself

24 What Butler believed The obligation to obey the law is, through its source in human nature, put there by God

25 What Butler believed The demands of conscience are compelling without any recourse to an external authority

26 What Butler believed The conscience is self- authenticating

27 What Butler believed Gave conscience absolute authority

28 What Butler believed Required that the conscience be followed without question

29 What Butler believed This leads to TWOproblems

30 Problem One The conscience may be misled or misinterpreted

31 Problem Two Intuition is impossible to cross-reference as it is given absolute authority ( Remember the Non-Cognitivists? )

32 Problem Two Intuition relates and answers only to itself

33 Problem Two This could ‘permit’ a person to behave in a way that does not provide for the happiness of others

34 The End

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