Student or Learner
Kindly assist me in the interpretation of the following paragraph:
"This mammoth decision might have ended legal battles between Geroge and the state. But it didn't achieve the clearing of the moral conscience of the nation". I am struggling to understand this phrase "moral conscience" What I know is that moral and conscience are adjective and noun respectively. When I look the two words in the dictionary they explain moral as "concerned with the principles of right and wrong behavior." Conscience is explained as "the inner sense of what is right or wrong in one's conduct or motives, impelling one toward right action".
I think what is puzzling you is the apparent redundancy of the adjective "moral." Ethics is the study of what is right and wrong, and as your dictionary says, conscience is our sense of what is right and wrong, so what does morality have to do with it? Surely it is just a question of ethics. A newspaper copy editor might cut out the word "moral" and consider the meaning unchanged.
But at the level of philosophy, morality is a much broader concept than ethics. Morals have to do with generally accepted ideas of what is right and wrong, but those ideas do not depend on ethics. They vary from time to time and from one culture to another. To take a few of millions of possible examples, some cultures have considered and still consider homicide to be moral in certain circumstances, some still consider female genital mutilation to be legitimate, some have considered the use of intoxicating drugs to be criminal while others have glorified it. None of these examples could ever be justified on purely ethical grounds, but they have all been parts of local morality at times.
Last edited by probus; 20-Feb-2014 at 06:37.