Following the lead of Thomas Aquinas and taking phenomenological analyses as his starting point the author undertakes to analyze conscience as a specific form of cognition, a source of knowledge about something. He contends that conscience is an axiological awareness that one's own or somebody else's action is recognized and placed within his/her own internal cognitive horizon. This recognition consists in making use of the first norm of action (synderesis) and by observing other principles of moral knowledge that are honored by the conscionable man for whatever reasons. Recognition of an action by conscience proceeds only vaguely when the subject initially realizes no more than he/she or somebody else has done something. Subsequently the character of the action becomes clearer when the 'beam of intention' attaches to it. In this phase the action is identified as either good or bad, and it elicits a response from the evaluating subject. Thus conscience assesses an action adequately if the action is honestly recognized in its complete structure, if it is placed in the horizon of unabridged moral knowledge of the evaluating subject who holds this knowledge as valid and retains it enduringly.
J. Krokos, Uniwersytet Kardynala Stefana Wyszynskiego w Warszawie, ul. Dewajtis 5, 01-815 Warszawa, Poland
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