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 Born in the city of Tagaste near the city of Carthage (in modern day Algeria) in N. Africa  Christian mother (Monica)  Pagan father (Patricius, who.

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Presentation on theme: " Born in the city of Tagaste near the city of Carthage (in modern day Algeria) in N. Africa  Christian mother (Monica)  Pagan father (Patricius, who."— Presentation transcript:

1  Born in the city of Tagaste near the city of Carthage (in modern day Algeria) in N. Africa  Christian mother (Monica)  Pagan father (Patricius, who ultimately adopts Christianity)  Citizen of the Roman Empire  Christianity the official religion of the Empire since the edit of Constantine (313ad) 1

2  Educated in Carthage  masters rhetoric  rejects Christianity  embraces sensuality  Mistress & Adeodatus  Accepts Manichæism Manichæism  two opposed fundamental forces for good and evil (compare the four forces of contemporary physics: weak; strong; electromagnetic; gravity)four forces of contemporary physics  conflict manifested in all things  Explains the inevitability of human moral failing and the existence of evil 2

3  Becomes noted rhetorician  Moves to Rome as a teacher in 384  Meets and studies w. Ambrose in Milan  rejects Manicheanism & accepts (neo) platonism  after intellectual struggle adopts Christianity in 387 3

4  Returns to N. Africa & becomes bishop of Hippo  Writes extensively in philosophy and theology  Recognized as a “Father of the Church”  Influenced much of medieval philosophy and anticipates important ideas in modern philosophy 4

5  Distinguish knowledge of  sensible particular (contingent) objects  nonsensible laws of science (or platonic forms)  universality  necessity 5

6  Experience  limited by space and time  results in knowledge of the sensible, contingent particular  cannot produce knowledge of the universal and necessary  We do have knowledge of the universal and necessary. How? 6

7  Trickster secretly tells Confederate the answers to questions that Confederate could not otherwise know  e.g. “What are the four numbers written on the paper hidden in my desk?” 7

8  Trickster & Confederate publicly perform their trick for Witness  Trickster asks the question  Confederate “miraculously” answers correctly and amazes Witness  Witness concludes  Confederate could not have known the (hidden) answers through sensation  Trickster must have informed (illumined) Confederate  That’s the only way Confederate could have know the answers 8

9  Confederate has knowledge beyond the bounds of sensation  Only communication suffices to explain Confederate’s knowledge  Certainly, Confederate’s knowledge acquired & not innate 9

10  Thesis: the only way to explain how a person can have knowledge of universal and necessary scientific laws/forms is to hypothesize that God informs or “illuminates” the person and thereby gives that particular person knowledge of the forms  Notice that Illumination involves communication between God and particular individuals  Rejection of Platonic Nativism since knowledge of the forms is not common to all persons  The process of illumination is unspecified 10

11  Illumination is not innate because  knowledge of laws/forms is differentially acquired during the course of life  different people learn different science/forms at different times  whereas innate knowledge is common to all and inherent in all throughout life 11

12 Argument from Hierarchy  The universe is hierarchically organized, with forms at the top and above people  Nothing can act upon anything higher in the hierarchy  So, people cannot act on forms 12

13  So, people cannot come to know the forms by acting upon the forms through study  Nevertheless, some people do come to know some forms  This knowledge must result from the action of something at least as high in the hierarchy as the forms  But nothing is higher than the forms 13

14  Hence, it is the action of the forms upon people that causes knowledge  Augustine holds that  God = the forms  God is the summation of the forms  God is the self-knowing creator who creates the universe by establishing (in matter) the forms which exist as ideas in God’s mind  So, an individual’s knowledge of the forms is the result of God’s communicating about the forms with the individual knower.  God’s communicating with a person is God’s in forming the person. 14

15  To know a language is to know the meaning of words in the language  Meaning distinguishes between co- extensive properties  contrast “triangular” & “trilateral”  A language learner cannot distinguish co-extensive properties in experience by ostention  So, meaning & language cannot be learned experientially 15

16  Since language is mastered differentially, it is not innate but rather taught  The only possible teacher is God; it takes a miracle = illumination (some nonsensory process) to explain the acquisition of language 16

17  Some people learn scientific laws or forms with full necessity and universality  Sensation alone cannot provide such knowledge since it pertains only to the particular  Sensation must be supplemented by the universal principle of induction authorizing inference from the particular to the general  Illumination must be the source of such knowledge of the principle of induction 17

18  If illumination is divine intervention,  why does learning require our effort and work?  why does God illumine evil people?  what is the exact process of illumination?  how do you know when you’ve been illumined rather than deceived? 18

19  The universe changes constantly  To change is to become something from what was not  e.g. if a leaf changes from green to red, it becomes red from what was not, i.e. what was not red  So, change requires that something come from nothing, i.e. that something comes from what was not. 19

20  It is impossible under purely natural processes that something come from nothing.  So, there must exist something – God – that never changes and miraculously creates each momentary stage of the changing universe from what was not = nothing ( ex nihilo ).  To create ex nihilo is to create without using matter; it is to create simply by decree, command or thought. 20

21  Since God creates the universe ex nihilo, God is responsible for everything in the universe – both good and bad  In creating the universe, God foresees or knows the entire history of the universe in full detail  So God knows everything that each person does before he/she does it 21

22  (i) By hypothesis, God is perfect = benevolent, omnipotent, and omniscient  (ii) Assume: Evil exists  (iii) God created the universe ex nihilo  So, God is responsible for evil (assuming evil exists) 22

23  But if God is perfect, God could not be responsible for evil  Now we have a contradiction =  God is & is not responsible for evil  Contradictions are never true and arise in arguments resulting from one or more false assumptions  Hence, either (i), (ii), or (iii) must be false 23

24  Augustine rejects (ii); he asserts that what we take to be evil is really good  Evil is illusory  Recognition of evil is a fallible “theoretical inference”, not observation!  Recall: Is perception top down?  Suffering is really a good thing  it appears evil to us as an inference from a false theory = ignorance of God’s purpose in allowing it 24

25  Immorality results when people freely choose what, contrary to appearance, is actually good yet not as good as what they might otherwise have chosen  immorality is really the lesser of two goods, not the reality of evil 25

26  In creating ex nihilo, God knows the entire career of the universe  So, God knows every human action before it occurs  What God knows shall occur must occur  So, every human action that does occur must occur  What must occur is necessary  So, every human action is necessary  What is necessary is not free  So, no human action is free! 26

27  All propositions are true or false  So, all propositions about the future are true or false  Consider all true propositions about the future  the ones about you = your autobiography  These propositions now indicate what will happen  your autobiography indicates all that you will ever do  If the propositions about the future are now true, then what they indicate will happen must happen  So, what will happen, must happen  What must happen is necessary 27

28  So, whatever will happen is necessary  Hence everything that will happen according to your autobiography is necessary  Whatever is necessary is not free  So, nothing in your autobiography is free  Hence you are not free & neither is anyone else  Human freedom is illusory 28

29  Compatibilism maintains that freedom is compatible with necessity  Augustine is a compatibilist: he maintains that  God’s omniscience or providence does indeed imply that all human actions are necessary  But necessary actions may be voluntary  A person’s action is voluntary if the person acts as she wants, decides or wills.  A free action is merely a voluntary action.  Hence a free action may be a necessary action since voluntary actions may be necessary. 29

30  Augustine holds that freedom is voluntary action, even if the action is necessary  But, assume that you’re imprisoned & cannot leave  it is necessary that you stay  does your staying voluntarily make your staying free? 30

31  Augustine holds that freedom is voluntary action, even if the action is necessary  But, voluntary actions require volitions  Are volitions themselves necessary?  If volitions are necessary, are voluntary actions really free? 31

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