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Augustine's Way into the WillThe Theological and Philosophical Significance of De libero arbitrio$
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Simon Harrison

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780198269847

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198269847.001.0001

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Understanding, Knowledge, and Responsibility

Understanding, Knowledge, and Responsibility

(p.81) 5 Understanding, Knowledge, and Responsibility
Augustine's Way into the Will

Simon Harrison

Oxford University Press

This chapter sets out Augustine’s theory of knowledge that is manifested and deployed in On Free Choice of the Will. Augustine’s epistemology provides the philosophical context for his ‘way in’, and the rationale for the structure of the dialogue. Its understanding and acquisition require the ability to see logical connections and attain a synoptic overview by proceeding in the right order from foundational starting points. The ‘way in’ argument is itself one of these starting points in the dialogue. The ideas of freedom and responsibility are illustrated and instantiated in the acquisition of knowledge: one is free not to know, not to want to know, and no one else can do your learning for you. Other texts where Augustine sets out, discusses, and uses this epistemology are discussed: the dialogue De Magistro and the Confessions.

Keywords:   epistemology, freedom, De Magistro, Confessions

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