Moral Conscience Through The Ages: Fifth Century Bce To The Present

Hardcover | November 21, 2014

byRichard Sorabji

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In Moral Conscience through the Ages, Richard Sorabji brings his erudition and philosophical acumen to bear on a fundamental question: what is conscience? Examining the ways we have conceived of that little voice in our heads—our self-directed judge—he teases out its most enduring elements, the aspects that have survived from the Greek playwrights in the fifth century BCE through St Paul, the Church Fathers, Catholics and Protestants, all the way to the 17th century’s political unrest and the critics and champions of the eighteenth to twentieth centuries.

Sorabji examines an impressive breadth of topics: the longing for different kinds of freedom of conscience, the proper limits of freedom itself, protests at conscience’s being ‘terrorized,’ dilemmas of conscience, the value of conscience to human beings, its secularization, its reliability, and ways to improve it. These historical issues are alive today, with fresh concerns about topics such as conscientious objection, the force of conscience, or the balance between freedoms of conscience, religion, and speech. The result is a stunningly comprehensive look at a central component of our moral understanding. 

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From the Publisher

In Moral Conscience through the Ages, Richard Sorabji brings his erudition and philosophical acumen to bear on a fundamental question: what is conscience? Examining the ways we have conceived of that little voice in our heads—our self-directed judge—he teases out its most enduring elements, the aspects that have survived from the Greek...

Richard Sorabji is honorary fellow of Wolfson College at Oxford University and fellow and emeritus professor at King’s College, London. He is the editor of over one hundred books and author of fifteen books, including Necessity, Cause, and Blame; Self; and Gandhi and the Stoics, all published by the University of Chicago Press. 

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:240 pages, 9 × 6 × 1.2 inPublished:November 21, 2014Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:022618272X

ISBN - 13:9780226182728

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction

ONE / Sharing Knowledge with Oneself of a Defect: Five Centuries from the Greek Playwrights and Plato to St. Paul and First-Century Pagans
TWO / Christian Appropriation and Platonist Developments, Third to Sixth Centuries CE
THREE / Early Christianity and Freedom of Religion, 200–400 CE
FOUR / Doubled Conscience and Dilemmas of D ouble Bind: A Medieval Insight and a Twelfth-Century Misconstrual?
FIVE / Penitence for Bad Conscience in Pagans and Christians, First to Thirteenth Centuries
SIX / Protesters and Protestants: “Terrorization” of Conscience and Two Senses of “Freedom” of Conscience, Fourteenth to Sixteenth Centuries
SEVEN / Advice on Particular Moral Dilemmas: Casuistry, Mid-Sixteenth to Mid-Seventeenth Centuries
EIGHT / Freedom of Conscience and the Individual: Seventeenth-Century England and Holland
NINE / Four Rehabilitations of Conscience and Connection with Sentiment: Eighteenth Century
TEN / Critics and Champions of Conscience and Its Continuing Resecularization: Nineteenth to Twentieth Centuries
ELEVEN / Modern Issues about Conscientious Objection and Freedoms of Conscience, Religion, and Speech
TWELVE / Retrospect: Nature and Value of Conscience

Select Bibliography
Table of Main Thinkers and Writers
General Index
Index Locorum

Editorial Reviews

Moral Conscience through the Ages is an ambitious historical analysis of the changing meanings of moral conscience and related concepts from ancient Greek playwrights up to twentieth-century authors. I am not aware of any other book with this scope, let alone with such skill. Sorabji is eminently successful at proving his points, and his book will appeal to many audiences.”