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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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Thinking Eternally*

Thinking Eternally*

(p.135) 6 Thinking Eternally*
Augustine's Confessions

Paul Helm

Oxford University Press

The chapter examines Augustine’s discussion of time in Book 11 of the Confessions by emphasizing Augustine’s view of thinking eternally. This is preceded by a discussion of Augustine’s dismissal of Aristotle’s Categories in his search for a way of thinking about the Church’s confession that God is immutable. Augustine comes to rely instead on the conceptuality of neo-Platonism, (as reported in Book 7) though this reliance is definitely and deliberately limited; the “books of the Platonists” are silent on the Incarnation. Invoking the distinction between A-theories and B-theories of time, the essay argues that Augustine opts for a modified B-series in his account of God’s relation to time in Book 11. Augustine’s attitude to temporal indexicality is also discussed.

Keywords:   Aristotle, eternity, God, immutability, indexicality, neo-Platonism, time

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