Godless Conscience

Tom O'Shea

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    John Cottingham suggests that “only a traditional theistic framework may be adequate for doing justice to the role of conscience in our lives.” Two main reasons for endorsing this proposition are assessed: the religious origins of conscience, and the need to explain its normative authority. I argue that Graeco-Roman conceptions of conscience cast doubt on this first historical claim, and that secular moral realisms can account for the obligatoriness of conscience. Nevertheless, the recognition of the need for an objective foundation for conscience which emerges from these debates should be embraced by both secular and religious ethicists alike.

    © 2022, The Author(s). This is an author produced version of a paper published in EURPOEAN JOURNAL FOR PHILOSOPHY OF RELIGION uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self- archiving policy. The final published version (version of record) is available online at the link. Some minor differences between this version and the final published version may remain. We suggest you refer to the final published version should you wish to cite from it.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalEuropean Journal for Philosophy of Religion
    Publication statusAccepted/In press - 23 Feb 2022

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