Signs and Inwardness: Augustine's Theological Epistemology

Dissertation, Yale University (1994)
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Abstract

This is a study of the development of Western inwardness from Plato to Augustine. It traces the origin of three concepts: inward turn, private inner space, and outward expression. All three were originally theological concepts; i.e., they belonged to philosophical theories that related God to the soul. ;Part I examines the precursors of these three concepts in Plato, then notes the central contribution made by Aristotle's doctrine that the mind is identical with the Forms it knows. This allows Plotinus to identify the divine Mind with the intelligible world and locate it within the soul. This then is the foundation of Plotinus' inward turn: in turning its mind into its own interior, the soul is turning to the divine. ;Part II argues that it was Augustine who invented the concept of a private inner space of the self. Augustine's search for God builds on Plotinus' inward turn, but must adjust to the fact that Christian doctrine denies the divinity of the soul. Hence the inner self in Augustine is no longer the intelligible world, but the soul's own inner world. It only becomes a private world, however, inasmuch as the soul is fallen and therefore separated from other souls by the opacity of mortal bodies

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Phillip Cary
Eastern University

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