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

Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press (2013)
  Copy   BIBTEX


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.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 91,271

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

The Stoic Life: Emotions, Duties, and Fate (review).Henry Dyson - 2006 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 44 (2):317-318.
Human health and stoic moral norms.Lawrence C. Becker - 2003 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 28 (2):221 – 238.
Logic: The Stoics (Part Two).Susanne Bobzien - 1999 - In Keimpe Algra, Jonathan Barnes & et al (eds.), The Cambridge History of Hellenistic Philosophy. Cambridge University Press.
Stoic Realpolitik.Firmin DeBranander - 2006 - International Philosophical Quarterly 46 (3):277-292.
Augustine and the limits of virtue.James Wetzel - 1992 - New York, NY, USA: Cambridge University Press.
Pathologia, A Theory of the Passions.Laurent Jaffro, Christian Maurer & Alain Petit - 2013 - History of European Ideas 39 (2):221-240.


Added to PP

15 (#905,674)

6 months
5 (#592,531)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Citations of this work

Emotions and Moral Judgment: An Evaluation of Contemporary and Historical Emotion Theories.Josh Taccolini - 2021 - Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association 95:79-90.
Early Christian Ethics.Sarah Catherine Byers - 2017 - In Sacha Golob & Jens Timmermann (eds.), The Cambridge History of Moral Philosophy. New York: Cambridge University Press. pp. 112-124.

View all 8 citations / Add more citations

References found in this work

No references found.

Add more references