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Augustine on Memory and the Ethics of Self-Deception

Roberto Parra Dorantes

The main objective of this paper is to argue that Augustine’s analysis of the concept of memory in Confessions, Book X, would greatly benefit from the hierarchical argumentative and explanatory schema he himself employs in other works to discuss the relation between the senses, the inner sense, and reason in perception. A brief overview of Augustine’s account of memory in the Confessions is presented, followed by a discussion of two argumentative and explanatory schemata Augustine often employs in order to explain mental phenomena; the first one has to do with finding analogies between the human mind and the Holy Trinity (for man is supposed to be created as an image of God), and the second one has to do with distinguishing normative levels between mental faculties. I then argue that both of these schemata can be fruitfully applied to the several functions of the mind that can be found in Augustine’s account of memory and the ethics of self-deception.

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