By James Wetzel
This can be a student's advisor to the lifestyles and paintings of Augustine; a notoriously demanding philosopher, largely learn in Philosophy and Christian Theology. The e-book offers a concise and coherent evaluation of Augustine, introducing all of the key recommendations and issues, and is perfect for undergraduates who require greater than only a uncomplicated advent to his paintings and idea.
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Extra resources for Augustine: a guide for the perplexed
16 DEATH AND THE DELINEATION OF SOUL Most of us labor under the impression that we have more to lose in life than our virtues. Time has an unnerving way of removing the cultivation from our lives and returning us to simpler needs–perhaps a parting reminder of death’s complicity with birth. But the pressing question for us, by ancient lights, is not whether we are subject to more than self-willed loss, but whether we ought to make a virtue of that recognition. Perhaps, after all, it is only the trying, the attempt at cultivation, that matters.
Cicero was well aware of the debate between the Peripatetic and Stoic schools of philosophy over whether a person of wisdom would ever be completely beyond the reach of distressful emotions. The Peripatetics thought not. They put some value on objects of desire that, once lost, were nothing other than involuntary losses. Moral virtue was not in this boat, but physical beauty and fitness, loved ones, and material wealth were. In short, much of what many of us would consider 19 AUGUSTINE: A GUIDE FOR THE PERPLEXED crucial to happiness counted for the Peripatetics as external goods (bona externa), the loss of which would be in some way distressing.
Involuntary loss will be involuntarily felt, regardless of a person’s level or form of wisdom. But Cicero’s motive for assimilating the Stoic to the Peripatetic point of view was to underscore the overriding importance of virtue to a philosopher’s self-definition. Attachment to other kinds of goods has some register in the emotions, but never, says Cicero, as the kind of distress that ruins the integrity of virtue and sows division into a sage’s self-understanding. Augustine, for his part, is ready to acquiesce to a tattered virtue.
Augustine: a guide for the perplexed by James Wetzel