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date: 26 April 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This article proposes a phenomenological view of conscience and argues that it plays a role in the pathogenesis of some mental illness. Taking advantage of Kępiński’s concept of biological conscience, Heidegger’s notion of the call of conscience, and von Gebsattel’s idea of existential neurosis, the article claims that these different epistemological accounts of conscience refer to the phenomenon of temporal becoming. Original conscience, unlike its psychological manifestation, embodies primary values and helps to overcome nihilism that is the root of human suffering. It reveals nothingness and opens the horizon of expectations toward the possibilities of being, which in turn enables the transcendence of oneself. Presented understanding of conscience is relevant for values-based practice by pointing at a shared framework of becoming that conditions the very possibility of finding an agreement between conflicting worldviews.

Keywords: phenomenology, psychopathology, nihilism, nothingness, transcendence, Antoni Kępiński, Martin Heidegger, Viktor Emil von Gebsattel

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