Gewissen im 21. Jahrhundert – Potenziale eines veralteten Begriffs: Vortrag zur Eröffnung der 51. Lübecker Psychotherapietage „Gewissen – mehr oder weniger“

Translated title of the contribution: Conscience in the twenty-first century—Affordances of an old-fashioned concept: Opening lecture of the 51st Lübeck Psychotherapy Conference “Conscience—More or less”

Cornelius Borck*

*Corresponding author for this work

Abstract

Conscience is an old-fashioned sounding term. Responsibility is mostly used today instead of conscience. Responsibility should be taken on, preferably on the basis of evidence-based rational guidelines. The center of current notions of responsibility forms the concept of an enlightened self, aware of its feelings and needs, which makes conscious, knowledge-based decisions and considers the consequences. Significantly, conscience does not refer to such an autonomous self, but implies a second instance in the ego. Conscience refers to an inner objection. The objecting voice results in the special freedom of a decision of conscience on the one hand, and in the incorporation of social norms and culture-bound orders, on the other. It thus becomes clear that against the current dominance of autonomy and responsibility, the older model of conscience cannot simply be revived. Both models have their ambivalences, as demonstrated by the excessive demand on self-realization in postmodernity. Philosophy and the history of science cannot answer how much conscience we need. This short survey traces the evolvement of the term, explores the paths the idea of an inner voice has taken and points to the effects that have been released in the process.

Translated title of the contributionConscience in the twenty-first century—Affordances of an old-fashioned concept: Opening lecture of the 51st Lübeck Psychotherapy Conference “Conscience—More or less”
Original languageGerman
JournalPsychotherapie
Volume68
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)58-63
Number of pages6
ISSN2731-7161
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 01.2023

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