Two Kinds of Subjectivity in Augustine’s Confessions: Memory and Identity, and the Integrated Self

  • Gerard J. P. O’Daly
Part of the The New Synthese Historical Library book series (SYNL, volume 64)

There are several explorations of subjectivity in Augustine’s thought.1 One is the so-called Augustinian Cogito, where the phenomenon of my awareness of my mental activities (even the awareness of being mistaken) is the basis of epistemological claims about the attainability of certainty. But in one of his Cogito discussions, in Book 10 of his work On the Trinity, Augustine seems to take the argument further, developing the concept of the human mind as a self-thinking subject that is totally present to itself, an argument that is heavily influenced by Plotinus and Porphyry.2 To these one should add Augustine’s accounts of inwardness, the concepts of the mind as an “inner space” and of the “inward and upward” turn of its discovery of itself and God, in texts where the themes of interiority and mental ascent are, once again, influenced by the Neoplatonists.3 This paper considers two further exercises in Augustinian subjectivity, one familiar, on memory and identity, one less so, on the congruity (or lack of it) between “inner” and “outer” in certain emotionally-charged states. In both cases, the most important texts are in the Confessions. In my conclusion, I consider briefly some general implications of these texts.


Recollected Experience Ancient Philosophy True Friend False Friendship Epistemological Claim 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gerard J. P. O’Daly
    • 1
  1. 1.University College LondonUK

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