Augustine's Way into the Will: The Theological and Philosophical Significance of De Libero Arbitrio

By Simon Harrison | Go to book overview

3
The Integrity of de libero arbitrio

Les choses esquelles il y a de la perfection ne se doivent pas voir
à la hâte, mais avec temps, jugement et intelligence. I1 faut user
des mêmes moyens à les bien juger comme à les bien faire.

Nicolas Poussin to Paul Fréart de Chantelou, 20 March 1642

How is one to argue for the integrity of this work which reaches us as a unity?1 This unity is, I claim, self-evident. The self-evident requires, however, some elucidation. The form of the work, as a dialogue in three books could be described as ‘pedagogical’. In other words the terms of reference of the discussion are introduced gradually and carefully. We might think of those exercises which take the pianist from ‘elementary’, through ‘virtuoso’, to ‘transcendental’.2


THREE BOOKS

I begin with the most obvious material feature of lib.arb. It is divided into three books. This division is attested in the retr. (1.9.1). Moreover it is clearly marked within the text. The word liber is used twice

1 Further there is good reason to believe that the work reaches us as Augustine ‘published’ (edisse) it. For a definite idea of ‘publishing’ a work, cf. Augustine ep. 162 (quoted below, under ‘Evodius of Uzalis’) and ep. 31 (quoted chapter 1.4). Further Marrou (1949). I do not mean to suggest that there are no works from antiquity for which one cannot make a decent interpretative case for taking them apart: Aristotle’s Metaphysics is a good example.

2 There is a more seriously historical point to be investigated about lib.arb.’s relationship to the Platonic curriculum with its ascending sequence of Platonic dialogues. See n. 21 below.

-28-

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Augustine's Way into the Will: The Theological and Philosophical Significance of De Libero Arbitrio
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface and Acknowledgements vi
  • Contents ix
  • List of Figures and Tables xi
  • 1 - Introduction 1
  • 2 - Dissecting de Libero Arbitrio 17
  • 3 - The Integrity of de Libero Arbitrio 28
  • 4 - Approaching the Will 63
  • 5 - Understanding, Knowledge, and Responsibility 81
  • 6 - Facilitas, Difficultas, and Voluntas 112
  • 7 - A Cogito-like Argument? 131
  • 8 - Conclusion 151
  • Appendix 1 153
  • Appendix 2 - The ‘Rule of Piety’ (a Note on the Text Oilib.Arb. 3.5.12) 166
  • Bibliography 171
  • Index Locorum- De Libero Arbitrio 183
  • Index Locorum- Augustine, Other Works 185
  • General Index 187
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