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St. Augustine.docx

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PHIL 1100

St. Augustine St. Augustine’s Synthesis of Plato and Christianity  Plato’s (and Socrates’) views were revolutionary o The existence of an immaterial reality separate from the physical world o The radical distinction between an immaterial soul and physical body o The existence of an immortal soul that finds its ultimate fulfillment in union with the external, transcendent realm o Plotinus  Neo-Platonism; based on Plato’s core concept that “the soul, since it is a spiritual substance in its own right and can exist independently of the body, possesses a categorical superiority over the body.”  Imperfect vessel  body; disdain for body resulted in lost of voice, body sores, physical deterioration drove students away  Influence on St. Augustine  St. Augustine o Integrating concepts of Plato with Christianity o Believed that the physical body was both radically different from and inferior to its inhabitant, the immortal soul o Immortal souls striving to achieve union with God through faith and reason o Body is “snare” or “cage” for the soul, body is a “slave” to the soul o “The soul makes war with the body.” o “That the body is united with the soul, so that man may be entire and complete, is a fact we recognize on the evidence of our own nature.” o The body dies; the soul lives eternally in a transcendent realm of truth and beauty o Christianity’s first theologian: the study of God o Established groundwork for Descartes o “I am doubting, therefore I am.” Descartes’ Modern Perspective on the Self  The self is a thinking thing, distinct from the body.  Cogito, ergo sum “I think, therefore I am.”  What is the nature of reality?  What is the “good life” and
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