Conscience (in preparation, seeking publisher)
There is no doubting conscience is central to the human condition and our understanding of it. Still, questions arise. What is its origin and purpose? What does it disclose? And how? Although any historical schema will be imperfect to the extent that it must be incomplete, broadly speaking, the history of the concept of conscience can be usefully divided into four familiar periods: Ancient, Medieval, Modern, and Postmodern. Historically, it has been conceived in numerous ways, whether as an innate capacity responsible for the ability to discern natural law’s right and wrong (the Hebrew Prophets), as a voice of divine guidance (Socrates), as an internal tribunal whereby we pass judgment on ourselves by way of reason (Kant and German Idealism), as the ontological hallmark of our capacity for authentic individuality (Heidegger), or as an internalization of society’s repressive norms and mores (Freud). This rich and variegated conceptual reception only serves to underscore the phenomenon’s remarkable pertinence to multiple dimensions of philosophical interest. It is, perhaps first above all, a matter of our individual responsibility and morality. What, for example, does the capacity to draw moral judgments on its basis reveal about what it is to be the selves each of us is? It also, second, is an item of social, communal, and political significance. What, for example, does it mean to have our actions laid bare before others for moral and rational appraisal as social and political beings? And, of course, it is a spiritual matter too, as it discloses us before God. How, then, does conscience lay us bare before ourselves, others, and God? From Plato to Kant and Fichte, from Rousseau and Mill to Nietzsche and Freud, from the Prophets and Apostles to Heidegger, this work traces the evolution of the concept of conscience’s formation, in turn highlighting how the capacity to hear, and so heed, its voice forms the heart of man.
Synergy: A Deconstruction of the Myth of Original Sin (in preparation, seeking publisher)