Conscience vs. Conscious

By Jaxson

Main Difference

The main difference between Conscience and Conscious is that the Conscience is a judgment that assists in distinguishing right from wrong and Conscious is a quality or state of being aware of an external object.

  • 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.

  • Conscious

    Consciousness is the state or quality of awareness, or, of being aware of an external object or something within oneself. It has been defined variously in terms of sentience, awareness, qualia, subjectivity, the ability to experience or to feel, wakefulness, having a sense of selfhood or soul, the fact that there is something “that it is like” to “have” or “be” it, and the executive control system of the mind. Despite the difficulty in definition, many philosophers believe that there is a broadly shared underlying intuition about what consciousness is. As Max Velmans and Susan Schneider wrote in The Blackwell Companion to Consciousness: “Anything that we are aware of at a given moment forms part of our consciousness, making conscious experience at once the most familiar and most mysterious aspect of our lives.”Western philosophers, since the time of Descartes and Locke, have struggled to comprehend the nature of consciousness and identify its essential properties. Issues of concern in the philosophy of consciousness include whether the concept is fundamentally coherent; whether consciousness can ever be explained mechanistically; whether non-human consciousness exists and if so how can it be recognized; how consciousness relates to language; whether consciousness can be understood in a way that does not require a dualistic distinction between mental and physical states or properties; and whether it may ever be possible for computing machines like computers or robots to be conscious, a topic studied in the field of artificial intelligence.

    Thanks to developments in technology over the past few decades, consciousness has become a significant topic of interdisciplinary research in cognitive science, with significant contributions from fields such as psychology, anthropology, neuropsychology and neuroscience. The primary focus is on understanding what it means biologically and psychologically for information to be present in consciousness—that is, on determining the neural and psychological correlates of consciousness. The majority of experimental studies assess consciousness in humans by asking subjects for a verbal report of their experiences (e.g., “tell me if you notice anything when I do this”). Issues of interest include phenomena such as subliminal perception, blindsight, denial of impairment, and altered states of consciousness produced by alcohol and other drugs, or spiritual or meditative techniques.

    In medicine, consciousness is assessed by observing a patient’s arousal and responsiveness, and can be seen as a continuum of states ranging from full alertness and comprehension, through disorientation, delirium, loss of meaningful communication, and finally loss of movement in response to painful stimuli. Issues of practical concern include how the presence of consciousness can be assessed in severely ill, comatose, or anesthetized people, and how to treat conditions in which consciousness is impaired or disrupted. The degree of consciousness is measured by standardized behavior observation scales such as the Glasgow Coma Scale.

  • 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.

  • Conscious (adjective)

    Alert, faculties active.

    “The noise woke me, but it was another few minutes before I was fully conscious.”

  • Conscious (adjective)

    Aware of one’s own existence; aware of one’s own awareness.

    “Only highly intelligent beings can be fully conscious.”

  • Conscious (adjective)

    Aware of, sensitive to; observing and noticing, or being strongly interested in or concerned about.

    “I was conscious of a noise behind me.”

    “a very class-conscious analysis”

  • Conscious (adjective)

    Deliberate, intentional, done with awareness of what one is doing.

  • Conscious (adjective)

    Known or felt personally, internally by a person.

    “conscious guilt”

  • Conscious (adjective)


  • Conscious (noun)

    The part of the mind that is aware of itself; the consciousness.

  • 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”

  • Conscious (adjective)

    aware of and responding to one’s surroundings

    “although I was in pain, I was conscious”

  • Conscious (adjective)

    having knowledge of something

    “we are conscious of the extent of the problem”

  • Conscious (adjective)

    concerned with or worried about a particular matter

    “they were growing increasingly security-conscious”

  • Conscious (adjective)

    (of an action or feeling) deliberate and intentional

    “a conscious effort to walk properly”

  • Conscious (adjective)

    (of the mind or a thought) directly perceptible to and under the control of the person concerned

    “when you go to sleep it is only the conscious mind which shuts down”

Oxford Dictionary

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