This review is adequate to demonstrate that conscience has several meanings and may be applied to situations ranging from personal convictions to society ideals and objective standards of conduct for different persons. As a result, the nature of conscience has been variably characterized as an inward voice, a faculty, a judicial act, a habit, and so on. The lack of agreement among secular and religious writers on how to use and interpret conscience sometimes blurs and ambiguizes its genuine meaning. As a result, the common man is even more bewildered about its role as a moral standard. In this perspective, gaining a grasp of the nature of conscience and its responsibilities is a difficult undertaking.

Modern man is irritated by authority. The absence of restraint is what he defines as freedom. For example, in many democratic countries, freedom has come to be associated with irresponsibility. Often, the source of dissent is found in one’s conscience, which serves as a line of defense against authority’s demands. In moral matters, the emphasis is on personal autonomy, which rejects to look for moral values and guidance outside of one’s own self. In circumstances like these, however, appeals to conscience frequently result in the incapacity to settle moral issues. As a result, we have a chaotic existence, which has become a hallmark of our era.

Using St. Thomas Aquinas’ intellectual framework, this extensive article attempts to clarify some of the ambiguity around the term conscience.


When it comes to moral decisions, man’s conscience is his closest ally. Man makes a reasoned judgment about the actions he has undertaken or is intending to perform in order to determine whether they are good or evil. He does this because he has a natural desire for happiness and fulfillment. As a result, everyone is interested in consciousness. Teachers teach about it, leaders think about it, parents talk to their kids about it, Christians respect it, attorneys act on it, and philosophers think about it critically.

The fierce dispute in the Middle Ages about the relationship between conscience and synderesis, as well as its nature, drew Aquinas’ attention to the subject of “conscience.” He looked into the situation to see whether there were any issues.

He came to the conclusion that conscience either binds or incites. Without a question, his stance on the matter helped to ameliorate the problem to some measure. However, because his point of view appears to be highly subjective, it must be scrutinized.

Thomas Aquinas (c. 1225–74) was born into an aristocratic family in the southern Italian town of Roccasecca. At Cologne, he studied philosophy and theology under Albert the Great. Aquinas’ most well-known work is the Summa Theologia, which he authored between 1254 and 1273, along with additional works such as Scriptum Super Sententiarum, Quaestiones Disputatae De Veritate, and Summa Contra Gentiles. On March 7, 1274, he died in the Cistercian convent of Fossanova.


Conscience and synderesis are unavoidable in making moral judgements about activities, according to a historical overview of philosophers and thinkers who have studied the subject. However, without an epistemological purification in order to see the relationship between synderesis and conscience, man cannot appreciate and exploit this function of the human mind. Whether correct or false, Aquinas’ doctrine proved that conscience had a binding force[1]. This suggests that a person who succumbs to an erroneous conscience is not immune to doing a wrongdoing. Does this indicate that someone with a faulty conscience must act in an erroneous manner? What measures, if any, could be taken to repair the problem, and how would you go about doing so? A dubious conscience is characterized by a sense of uncertainty regarding something’s legality or obligation.


The fundamental goal of this project is to expose and reflect on Aquinas’ doctrine on conscience, as well as his understanding of conscience and synderesis. The relationship between Aquinas’ concept of conscience and man as a moral being in search of ultimate end will be examined. I shall attempt also to contribute to resolving the problem of error and doubtful conscience, in addition to what Aquinas has said about the problem.


In this study project, I’m interested in Aquinas’ theory on antecedent conscience rather than subsequent conscience, because only the former constitutes a moral norm. I’m hell-bent on discovering the ‘quid’ of his previous moral consciousness, along with its accompanying responsibilities.


Because our goal is to grasp and understand Aquinas’ theory and its significance to man as a moral creature acting for an ultimate goal, we will use an expository and analytical research style. Unless otherwise stated, the word “conscience” is to be interpreted as antecedent moral conscience throughout the text.


There are four chapters in this work. The first chapter deals with the research’s preliminary considerations. The second chapter takes a look at the idea of conscience before Aquinas. The doctrine of Aquinas on conscience is revealed in the third chapter. In the fourth chapter, I’ll discuss how his teaching applies to man as a being with an ultimate goal. After that, we’ll wrap up the essay.

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