Online Encyclopedia

SYNDERESIS

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V26, Page 293 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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SYNDERESIS, a term in scholastic philosophy applied to the inborn moral consciousness which distinguishes between good and evil. The word is really synteresis (Gr. uuvritp77o-is, from Qvyrnpeiv, to look after, take care of), but synderesis is the commoner form. Diogenes Laertius in his account of the Stoics (vii.85, T~v SE 7rp6env hp/.0 v 4,aut rb "ciov 1crxety E1ri rO T77Peiv iaurh) uses the phrase T?7peiv 'avro to describe the instinct for self-preservation, the inward harmony of Chrysippus, the recognition of which is vvveihnves. The term synderesis, however, is not found till Jerome, who in dealing with Ezek. i. 4-15, says the fourth of the " living creatures " of the vision is what the Greeks call ovvTi7p77ves, i.e. scintilla conscientiae the " spark of conscience." Here apparently synderesis and conscience (amiantus) are equivalent. By the schoolmen, however, the terms were differentiated, conscience being the practical envisaging of good and evil actions; synderesis being, so to speak, the tendency toward good in thought and action. The exact relation between the two was, however, a matter of controversy, Aquinas and Duns Scotus holding that both are practical reason, while Bonaventura narrows synderesis to the volitional tendency to good actions.
End of Article: SYNDERESIS
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