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Document Details :
Title: From Awareness to Activity
Subtitle: The Development of the Active Theory of Sensation in Augustine's Early Works
Author(s): MANNINEN, Eetu
Volume: 69 Issue: 1 Date: 2019
The aim of this article is to provide an account of the development of Augustine’s theory of sense-perception in his early dialogues. First, I will compare two of Augustine’s early discussions on sense-perception that are found in De quantitate animae (387/388) and De musica (387/391), and determine the development in his theory of sensation that occurred between the two works. Then I will contextualize Augustine’s theory of sensation in relation to its philosophical background, thus aiming to account for Augustine’s motives and philosophical assumptions behind the development of the theory. The conclusion of this article is that Augustine’s theory of sensation developed from a largely Plotinian view in De quantitate animae, which sees sensation as the soul’s rather 'passive' awareness of bodily affections, into the theory of De musica book VI. In the latter work, sense-perception is seen as an interplay between sensory affections and the soul’s attentive reaction to them, which makes the relationship between the soul and the external world more reciprocal than before. This in turn implies a more fundamental change in Augustine’s way to see the relationship between the soul and the external world.