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By Gareth B. Matthews

This lucid survey takes readers on a thought-provoking travel during the lifestyles and paintings of Augustine. This name explores new insights into one in all antiquity's most vital philosophers. subject matters of this identify contain: skepticism, language acquisition, mind-body dualism, philosophical dream difficulties, time and production, religion and cause, foreknowledge and loose will, and Augustine's status as a 'Socratic philosopher'.

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2 According to this “Augustinian picture of language” each of us breaks out of our epistemological ego isolation by having the names of things pointed out to us in such a way that we come to be able to express our own desires by using the words we have learned by ostensive definition. ’ a desire for some banana. In fact, this conception of language learning does not square well with what we find in Augustine’s early dialogue The Teacher, which is Augustine’s most inviting presentation of his philosophy of language.

Perhaps Augustine had anticipated this objection when, in the passage immediately preceding T1, he had conceded that the materialist will consider the activities of the mind as a configuration of qualities – properties, we might say today – of a material substance. But he does nothing mind–body dualism 45 there to make plausible the claim that, by knowing and being certain of itself, the mind, if it were a configuration of properties of some substance, would have to know and be certain what substance it is a configuration of properties of.

P. Baker and P. M. S. Hacker, in their influential commentary, have called “Augustine’s picture of language” – a picture that Wittgenstein seems to link with Gottlob Frege (1848–1925), Bertrand Russell (1872–1970), and perhaps especially with his own early work, the Tractatus. The Augustinian picture of language as it emerges in the Philosophical Investigations is thus, it seems, primarily a target for presenting, assessing, and criticizing views on the nature of language prominent in the first half of the twentieth century, even though the philosophers who made those views prominent, including Wittgenstein himself, when he wrote the Tractatus, did not think of themselves as Augustinians.

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Augustine by Gareth B. Matthews


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