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Augustine's ConfessionsPhilosophy in Autobiography$
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William E. Mann

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199577552

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199577552.001.0001

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Happiness in Augustine’s Confessions1

Happiness in Augustine’s Confessions1

(p.46) 3 Happiness in Augustine’s Confessions1
Augustine's Confessions

Nicholas Wolterstorff

Oxford University Press

This essay first argues that what Augustine has in mind by “happiness” (“beatitude”) is quite different from what the Peripatetics and Stoics had in mind. It then discusses Augustine’s diagnosis of the cause of his unhappiness before his conversion: he loved earthly things instead of God. Augustine tells the story of his conversion in such a way that one expects that, upon his conversion, he has found happiness. Book 10 makes clear that that is not the case; he remains deeply unhappy, the cause of his unhappiness now being that he yields to the temptation to delight in things other than God and God alone. Complete happiness is not possible in this life.

Keywords:   happiness, Stoics, conversion, pleasure, temptation

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