Conscience and Moral Decision Making Sociopaths let your Conscience be your Guide Adam Kahn – Help

OUR CONSCIENCE HELPS US WHEN MAKING MORAL DECISIONS. Well- publicized author of the book “Self-Help That Works”, Adam Kahn, says this about Socio-paths:

“…. there are far more sociopaths leading ordinary lives. Chances are you know a sociopath. I say “ordinary lives,” but what they do is far from ordinary. Sociopaths are people without a conscience. They don’t have the normal empathy the rest of us take for granted. They don’t feel affection. They don’t care about others. But most of them are good observers, and they have learned how to mimic feelings of affection and empathy remarkably well.
Most people with a conscience find it very difficult to even imagine what it would be like to be without one. Combine this with a sociopath’s efforts to blend in, and the result is that most sociopaths go undetected……some experts think ASPD (anti-social personality disorder)……Sociopaths don’t have normal affection with other people. They don’t feel attached to others. They don’t feel love. And that is why they don’t have a conscience.”

While there are people who might come to the conclusion that operating under the constraints of a conscience inhibits moral decision-making, they would be misguided at best and completely wrong at most. Much of this misguided reasoning, I would suppose comes from a type of moral malaise arrived at when facing life’s moral stop signs and rules. Other’s may be facing a rebellious stage of life and denounce conscience as a guide to shift attention from their own bad or difficult behavior. Still others fall into the trap of aligning with points of view that equate conscience with religion. Hating or at least disliking religious ideals, these defenders of the notion that responding to one’s conscience is misplace are actually trying to reject the concept of “guilt”.

Mr. Kahn makes the point that most people conducting themselves in immoral ways “feel guilt and remorse. Why? Because you have a natural affinity for other human beings. You know how it feels to suffer, to fear, to feel anguish. You care about others….. Take that attachment and affection away and you take away remorse, guilt, and any kind of normal feelings of fairness. That’s a sociopath.”(Citing “Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us, and The Sociopath Next Door” Robert Hare and unnamed work by Martha Stout) The sociopath’s goal is to win. And he is willing to do anything at all to win.

Considering or suggesting that a conscience does not help when making moral decisions is to overlook not just the real threat of sociopathic behavior, but what the conscience is and the protection that it lends to each life that develops and uses the conscience part of the mind.

Even in low forms of animal life, the need to protect and care for the young, is sometimes cited by anthropolitists as the rudimentary beginnings of duty (New Advent Encyclopedia – conscience). To carry out a duty, in higher forms of beings such as humans implies that there are duties, responsibilities, and obligations in life. Without a conscience to invoke those duties to one’s decision making process would effectively eliminate civil society. Barbarism is the result in the extreme but very real none-the-less. The Age of Barbarism is not unknown. It was an historical event filled with enormous atrocities including the demise of Rome. A conscience is an important moral guide.