Conscience vs. Compunction - What's the difference?

Wikipedia

  • Conscience

    Conscience is a cognitive process that elicits emotion and rational associations based on an individual's moral philosophy or value system. Conscience stands in contrast to elicited emotion or thought due to associations based on immediate sensory perceptions and reflexive responses, as in sympathetic central nervous system responses. In common terms, conscience is often described as leading to feelings of remorse when a person commits an act that conflicts with their moral values. An individual's moral values and their dissonance with familial, social, cultural and historical interpretations of moral philosophy are considered in the examination of cultural relativity in both the practice and study of psychology. The extent to which conscience informs moral judgment before an action and whether such moral judgments are or should be based on reason has occasioned debate through much of modern history between theories of modern western philosophy in juxtaposition to the theories of romanticism and other reactionary movements after the end of the Middle Ages. Religious views of conscience usually see it as linked to a morality inherent in all humans, to a beneficent universe and/or to divinity. The diverse ritualistic, mythical, doctrinal, legal, institutional and material features of religion may not necessarily cohere with experiential, emotive, spiritual or contemplative considerations about the origin and operation of conscience. Common secular or scientific views regard the capacity for conscience as probably genetically determined, with its subject probably learned or imprinted as part of a culture.Commonly used metaphors for conscience include the "voice within", the "inner light", or even Socrates' reliance on what the Greeks called his "daimōnic sign", an averting (ἀποτρεπτικός apotreptikos) inner voice heard only when he was about to make a mistake. Conscience, as is detailed in sections below, is a concept in national and international law, is increasingly conceived of as applying to the world as a whole, has motivated numerous notable acts for the public good and been the subject of many prominent examples of literature, music and film.

Wiktionary

  • Conscience (noun)

    The moral sense of right and wrong, chiefly as it affects one's own behaviour.

    "Your conscience is your highest authority."

  • Conscience (noun)

    A personification of the moral sense of right and wrong, usually in the form of a person, a being or merely a voice that gives moral lessons and advices.

  • Conscience (noun)

    Consciousness; thinking; awareness, especially self-awareness.

  • Compunction (noun)

    A pricking of conscience or a feeling of regret, especially one which is slight or fleeting.

Oxford Dictionary

  • Conscience (noun)

    a person's moral sense of right and wrong, viewed as acting as a guide to one's behaviour

    "he had a guilty conscience about his desires"

    "Ben was suffering a pang of conscience"

  • Compunction (noun)

    a feeling of guilt or moral scruple that prevents or follows the doing of something bad

    "they used their tanks without compunction"

Webster Dictionary

  • Conscience (noun)

    Knowledge of one's own thoughts or actions; consciousness.

  • Conscience (noun)

    The faculty, power, or inward principle which decides as to the character of one's own actions, purposes, and affections, warning against and condemning that which is wrong, and approving and prompting to that which is right; the moral faculty passing judgment on one's self; the moral sense.

  • Conscience (noun)

    The estimate or determination of conscience; conviction or right or duty.

  • Conscience (noun)

    Tenderness of feeling; pity.

  • Compunction (noun)

    A pricking; stimulation.

  • Compunction (noun)

    A picking of heart; poignant grief proceeding from a sense of guilt or consciousness of causing pain; the sting of conscience.

Princeton's WordNet

  • Conscience (noun)

    motivation deriving logically from ethical or moral principles that govern a person's thoughts and actions

  • Conscience (noun)

    conformity to one's own sense of right conduct;

    "a person of unflagging conscience"

  • Conscience (noun)

    a feeling of shame when you do something immoral;

    "he has no conscience about his cruelty"

  • Compunction (noun)

    a feeling of deep regret (usually for some misdeed)

Illustrations

Compunction

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