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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 identify explores new insights into one in every of antiquity's most vital philosophers. issues of this identify comprise: skepticism, language acquisition, mind-body dualism, philosophical dream difficulties, time and construction, religion and cause, foreknowledge and loose will, and Augustine's status as a 'Socratic philosopher'.

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But it is important to realize that Augustine was himself well aware of the ambiguity of ostension. Does the Doctrine of Illumination have any appeal to any philosophers or linguists today? Consider this explanation by Jerrold Katz of the view he calls “linguistic rationalism,” a view which he himself defends: Linguistic rationalism claims that all the concepts available to science and everyday explanation are contained in the innate space of possible senses language 31 with which humans face the task of language acquisition.

29) The walking example becomes emblematic in the Teacher for the ambiguity of ostension. Certainly walking is different from hurrying. Walking is also different from, say, pacing, taking 55 steps, sauntering, and a host of other things that the demonstrator might be taken to have demonstrated. Ostensive learning is, it seems, chronically and unavoidably plagued with such ambiguity. ”6 And how could Augustine be right when he states in T2, “When they (my elders) named some object, and accordingly moved towards something, I saw this and I grasped that the thing was called by the sound they uttered when they meant to point it out”?

Every sensory experience I have ever thought I was having while awake I can also think of myself as sometimes having while asleep; and since I do not believe that what I seem to perceive in sleep comes from things located outside me, I did not see that I should be any more inclined to believe this of what I think I perceive while awake. (Descartes, Meditation VI, AT VII, 77; CSM, II, 53) Still, what Augustine does say in Against the Academicians, Book 3, invites Descartes’s problem. Augustine goes on to consider some other mathematical truths as examples of things we can know: T7.

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