Perception, Sensibility, and Moral Motivation in Augustine: A Stoic-Platonic Synthesis

Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press (2013)
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Abstract

This book argues that Augustine assimilated the Stoic theory of perception and mental language (lekta/dicibilia), and that this epistemology underlies his accounts of motivation, affectivity, therapy for the passions, and moral progress. Byers elucidates seminal passages which have long puzzled commentators, such as Confessions 8, City of God 9 and 14, Replies to Simplicianus 1, and obscure sections of the later ‘anti-Pelagian’ works. Tracking the Stoic terminology, Byers analyzes Augustine’s engagement with Cicero, Seneca, Ambrose, Jerome, Origen, and Philo of Alexandria, demonstrating that Augustine appropriated Stoicism with greater sophistication than other religious writers. She also shows how he moved beyond the Stoics by enriching Stoic cognitivism with Platonic motivational theory, arguing that Augustine created a coherent synthesis. This newly discovered Augustinian moral psychology has elements that contemporary philosophers and psychologists have identified as important.

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Early Christian Ethics.Sarah Catherine Byers - 2017 - In Sacha Golob & Jens Timmermann (eds.), The Cambridge History of Moral Philosophy. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. pp. 112-124.
Saint Augustine.Michael Mendelson - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

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