Single Idea 6237

[catalogued under 22. Metaethics / C. Ethics Foundations / 2. Source of Ethics / c. Ethical intuitionism]

Full Idea

Conscience is to find horribly offensive the reflection of any unjust action or behaviour; to have awe and terror of the Deity, does not, of itself, imply conscience; …thus religious conscience supposes moral or natural conscience.

Gist of Idea

Fear of God is not conscience, which is a natural feeling of offence at bad behaviour


3rd Earl of Shaftesbury (Inquiry Concerning Virtue or Merit [1699], II.II.I)

Book Reference

'British Moralists 1650-1800 Vol. 1', ed/tr. Raphael,D.D. [Hackett 1991], p.185

A Reaction

The reply from religion would be that the Deity has implanted natural conscience in each creature, though this seems to deny our freedom of moral judgment. Personally I am inclined to think that values are just observations of the world - such as health.