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Roman ReflectionsStudies in Latin Philosophy$
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Gareth D. Williams and Katharina Volk

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199999767

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199999767.001.0001

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Why Ancient Skeptics Don’t Doubt the Existence of the External World

Why Ancient Skeptics Don’t Doubt the Existence of the External World

Augustine and the Beginnings of Modern Skepticism

(p.260) 13 Why Ancient Skeptics Don’t Doubt the Existence of the External World
Roman Reflections

Katja Maria Vogt

Oxford University Press

This chapter begins from the Augustinian premise in his late treatise De trinitate that the mind is nothing other than what it takes itself introspectively to be: Augustine asserts a radical “gap” between mind and world, to the effect that the mind is so deeply different from anything that is external to it that it can function as our conduit to, and form of connection with, God; to know the mind thus becomes of paramount importance. In De trinitate Augustine thereby makes a major contribution to epistemology and philosophy of mind. His proposal opens the way for a new kind of skeptic who stresses the gulf between one’s own mind and all that is outside it, but who was to prove a formidable opponent for Augustine’s successors by resisting the Augustinian view that an inner turning to the mind constitutes a turning to God.

Keywords:   Augustine, skepticism, De trinitate, philosophy of mind, epistemology

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