Conscience and Moral Consciousness

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This interdisciplinary conference, which is organized by the TORCH Affections and Ethics network at Oxford University, brings together philosophers, theologians, and scholars working in literature, history and political theory as well as other disciplines to examine the role of conscience for our moral self-understanding. The 'voice of conscience' has not only been regarded as a central source of moral cognition by many philosophers and theologians, but has also been of persistent fascination for psychologically interested writers. In addition, conscience is widely attributed special normative significance with regard to legal and political issues in pluralistic societies. But the debates about these questions have been led mostly in parallel and without the necessary interconnections between the disciplines. The conference aims to cover a wide range of topics connected to conscience, in order to show how they bear upon each other and to further mutual understanding among the people participating in the different discourses.


9:30 - 11:00 | Welcome and Terry Irwin (Oxford): "Lying and Killing: conscience in principles, rules, and cases" (Lecture Room)

11:00 - 11:30 | Coffee break

11:30 - 13:00 | Panel discussions

Panel 1: 'Historical approaches to Conscience I' (Ryle Room)
Lorenzo Greco (Oxford) 'Hume on Conscience' and Carl Hildebrand (Oxford) 'Moral Worth, Emotion, and Practical Wisdom: Kant’s Aristotelian Dispositions'

Panel 2: 'Conscience and Theology' (Lecture Room)
Joshua Hordern (Oxford) 'Conscience and politics in Islam and Christianity' and Joshua Broggi (Edinburgh) 'Kant and Herder on the Genesis of Moral Consciousness'

13:00 - 14:15 | Lunch break

14:15 - 15:45 | Panel discussions

Panel 3: 'Historical Approaches to Conscience II' (Ryle Room)
Franz Knappik (Berlin) / Erasmus Mayr (Oxford) 'Kant and the Infallibility of Conscience' and Emre Kazim (London) 'The Cultivation of Conscience as Self-Improvement in Kant'

Panel 4: 'Conscience and Society' (Lecture Room)
Hila Keren (LA) 'Law, Conscience, and Anticipated Guilt' and Liesbet Vanhaute (Antwerp) 'I won't but my colleague will'

15:45 - 16:15 | Coffee break

16:15 - 17:45 | Julia Driver (St. Louis): "Conscience and Meta-Cognition:  an Updated Humean Account" (Lecture Room)


Attendance and refreshments including lunch are free, but please register by sending an email to by the 5th June 2014 in order to guarantee a place.

The conference is supported by TORCH, The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities.
More details about the conference and the Oxford Affections and Ethics Network may be found at:

Affections and Ethics

Audience: Open to all