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Epistemolog1 - transcendent Platonic reality via God’s...

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Epistemology: Augustine was sympathetic to the skeptic’s view that we can have no knowledge prior to his conversion to Christianity. But afterwards, he took the skeptic to be refuted by examples like the law of non-contradiction (it is not the case that both P and not P). Even if I cannot be certain that other minds exist, I can be certain that they do not both exist and not exist. Augustine also precedes Descartes in noting that we can have certain knowledge of our own existence. Beyond refuting the skeptics with such examples, Augustine is not so much concerned to show that our knowledge is justified. Augustine takes wisdom and knowledge to be the fruit of a fusion of faith and reason. That we have knowledge is a given by faith for Augustine. His epistemological task is to explain how we come to have knowledge of eternal truths. Plato had taken intellectual discovery to be a form of remembering what had been clear to the mind prior to its attachment to the body. Augustine instead takes rational insight to yield knowledge of a
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Unformatted text preview: transcendent Platonic reality via God’s illumination of the objects of though to our mind. As the sun lights up physical objects and thereby makes them visible to the eyes, Augustine takes God to be the source of intellectual illumination, making Platonic ideals discernible to the intellect. This epistemic view is called the doctrine of illumination. Metaphysics: The doctrine of illumination makes God’s existence a necessary condition for our knowledge. From here Augustine moves to the identification of God with Eternal Truth. Recall that Plato’s divided line posited degrees of reality with the form of the Good being the most real or the highest being. Augustine puts God in the place of the form of the good in Plato’s scheme of things. God is present in the person by way of illuminating the eternal truths to reason. But God also transcends the person. God is self-sufficient, relying on nothing else for his existence. The world was created by God ex nihilo (out of nothing)....
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