The Moral Tug
Conscience, Quiescence and Free Will
Keywords:Conscience, Moral Tug, Eleonore Stump, Quiescence, Free will
In this article I argue that if conscience, working properly, involves some form of ‘moral tug’, then this is incompatible with the state of ‘quiescence’ put forward as a central element of Eleonore Stump’s account of repentance. Quiescence is also a key notion for Stump’s theodicy in Wandering in the Darkness and Stump’s thesis in her book, Atonement. Quiescence is about an inactive, or neutral, or stationary, state of the will prior to turning to the good, or God, through receiving God’s saving grace. But if God exerts a non–coercive pressure on people through their conscience to turn to him, and turn from evil, then this drawing towards the good, or tugging away from evil, can only be yielded to, or resisted. There is no neutral state. I give examples of language such as being ‘bound’ to obey one’s conscience, which seem to reflect such non–coercive pressure. I conclude by commenting on free will.
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