[ExI] conscience

BillK pharos at gmail.com
Sat Jan 9 23:12:36 UTC 2010

On 1/9/10, Damien Broderick wrote:
>  This is a curious lexical error that non-English writers often make in
> English, so I assume there must be only a single word in their languages for
> the two very different concepts "conscience" ("the inner sense of what is
> right or wrong in one's conduct or motives, impelling one toward right
> action") and "consciousness" ( "the state of being conscious; awareness of
> one's own existence, sensations, thoughts, surroundings, etc."). I dimly
> recall that this is so in French. If so, how do you convey the difference in
> Italian, etc?

You are correct that the same word 'conscience' has multiple meanings in French.
See: <http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conscience>

Il est important de distinguer :
    * La conscience en tant que phénomène mental lié à la perception
et la manipulation intentionnelle de représentations mentales, qui
comprend :

             1. la conscience du monde qui est en relation avec la
perception du monde extérieur, des êtres vivants doués ou non de
conscience dans l’environnement et dans la société (autrui).
             2. la conscience de soi et de ce qui se passe dans
l’esprit d’un individu : perceptions internes (corps propre), aspects
de sa personnalité et de ses actes (identité du soi, opérations
cognitives, attitudes propositionnelles).

    * La conscience morale, respect de règles d'éthique.

Le terme conscience est donc susceptible de prendre plusieurs
significations, selon le contexte.


It is important to distinguish:
    * Consciousness as a mental phenomenon linked to the perception
and the deliberate manipulation of mental representations, which

             1. consciousness of the world that is related to the
perception of the world outside, living beings endowed with conscience
or not in the environment and the society (others).
             2. self-consciousness and what happens in the mind of an
individual: perceptions of internal (own body), aspects of his
personality and his deeds (identity of the self, operations cognitive,
propositional attitudes).

    * Consciousness morality, respect for rules of ethics.

The term consciousness is likely to take several meanings depending on context.


So the French can make the distinction by saying 'La conscience
morale' when they mean 'conscience'.


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