Conscience and the Common Good: Reclaiming the Space between Person and State

CONSCIENCE AND THE COMMON GOOD: RECLAIMING THE SPACE BETWEEN PERSON AND STATE, Robert K. Vischer, ed., Cambridge University Press, 2010

U of St. Thomas Legal Studies Research Paper No. 10-15

Posted: 24 Apr 2010  

Robert K. Vischer

University of St. Thomas, St. Paul/Minneapolis, MN - School of Law

Date Written: April 23, 2010

Abstract

Our society’s longstanding commitment to the liberty of conscience has become strained by our increasingly muddled understanding of what conscience is and why we value it. Too often we equate conscience with individual autonomy, and so we reflexively favor the individual in any contest against group authority, losing sight of the fact that a vibrant liberty of conscience requires a vibrant marketplace of morally distinct groups. Defending individual autonomy is not the same as defending the liberty of conscience because, although conscience is inescapably personal, it is also inescapably relational. Conscience is formed, articulated, and lived out through relationships, and its viability depends on the law’s willingness to protect the associations and venues through which individual consciences can flourish: these are the myriad institutions that make up the space between the person and the state. Conscience and the Common Good reframes the debate about conscience by bringing its relational dimension into focus.

Keywords: conscience, liberty of conscience, liberty and law, freedom of conscience, law and morality

Suggested Citation

Vischer, Robert K., Conscience and the Common Good: Reclaiming the Space between Person and State (April 23, 2010). CONSCIENCE AND THE COMMON GOOD: RECLAIMING THE SPACE BETWEEN PERSON AND STATE, Robert K. Vischer, ed., Cambridge University Press, 2010; U of St. Thomas Legal Studies Research Paper No. 10-15. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1595147

Robert K. Vischer (Contact Author)

University of St. Thomas, St. Paul/Minneapolis, MN - School of Law ( email )

MSL 400, 1000 La Salle Avenue
Minneapolis, MN Minnesota 55403-2005
United States
651-962-4838 (Phone)

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
1,485