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One possibility I want to raise is that his encounter with the Hebrew Bible, in particular, imbued him with a sense that human beings knowingly act against their own in- terests not only out of weakness of will, as the Greeks generally acknowledged, but also out of a kind of perversity, as they generally did not.
Above all, Augustine wants to know what it was he found appealing about the prospect of the pear-theft and, what he suggests is substantially the same thing in this case, what it was he enjoyed about it at the time he did it.
This in itself indicates perverse action: he acted contrary to his best judgment, without even knowing why. I am not aware of this kind of inquiry being made by a philosopher before Augustine. Adam and Eve, too, disobeyed a clear divine prohibition. And they, too, acted crucially in consort — they were a gang of two.
If it were possible, then one might have all the requisite knowledge about what to do, but still not do it, and so this knowledge would not be sufficient for virtue. They clearly supposed the reality of akrasia to be undeniable, and were determined to provide a psychological account that acknowledged and explained this reality. Although neither succeeded in making the matter entirely clear, they proposed broadly similar models of akra- sia, plausible and illuminating as far as they went, as an expression of intrapsychic conflict, and posited sub-personal centers of quasi-agency — psychic parts or faculties, or modes of psychic functioning — as, potentially, protagonists in such conflict.
Plato and Aristotle retained a conception of virtue as knowledge; what they denied was that virtue could be exclusively propositional knowledge, or knowledge that could be expressed in the form of definitions, as Socrates seems to have thought it could. Now, there is no-one who wants to be asleep all the time, and everyone is right to agree that it is better to be awake, and yet many a man postpones shaking off sleep when he feels a heavy sluggishness in his limbs, which seizes and enfeebles him the more pleasantly, for all that he is now annoyed with himself, and even though it is time to get up.
In just the same way, I was certain certum habebam that it would be better for me to give myself over to Your love than to surrender to my own lusts, but the latter course gratified me and won me over, even as I was disposed and obliged to the former.
In any case, it is hard to imagine how Augustine, or any Christian philosopher at all like him, might take seriously the suggestion that akrasia is impossible without lapsing into the Pelagian heresy Augustine spent so much time and energy opposing in the latter part of his life.
I shall proceed on the further assumption that Augustine considers his theft an akratic act.
Augustine is not here or anywhere else, to my knowledge putting forward an anti-Socratic theory of akrasia: he is presupposing the reality of akrasia, since an explicit assertion of it would be platitudinous.
Augustine frequently talks of division within the soul.
He is not that kind of philosopher. In fact, he gives no indication, in the Confessions anyway, of thinking of akrasia as a philosophical problem at all. While Augustine does as I assume regard the theft as a case of akrasia, then, and therefore of course a case of akrasia occasioned by the prospect of pleasure, merely to characterize it in this way, even if one has an adequate account of akrasia occasioned by pleasure, is not to explain what Augustine finds so puzzling about his theft.
For the theft is irrational in more than one way. Augustine would regard the kind of treatment of pleasure-involving practical irrationality we find in Plato and Aristotle as incomplete. But this is not because he would regard their accounts of pleasure-involving akrasia as incomplete. He may, but that is not the point. The point is that in very many of the cases of practical irrationality marked by pleasure-involving akrasia, 7 Augustine is addressing God throughout the Confessions.
The question that bothers Augustine about his theft — How can something like that appear pleasurable? If we look to recent accounts of how Augustine explains what it was about the theft that ap- pealed to him, however, they tend to make his explanation implausibly uninformative. Mann alleges that Augustine is reaching just this conclusion when he says things like. I did not wish to enjoy that thing I craved for by theft, but the theft itself and the sin II.
We did that which it pleased us to do because it was not permitted ibid. Behold, let my heart now speak to you about what it sought there [in the abyss]: that I would be gratuitously evil and that my evil would have no cause except evil. It [my evil] was foul, and I loved it. I loved to sink completely.
I loved my defect — not that towards which I defected, but I loved my defect itself. My soul was deformed, and leaping away from your support, towards destruction, I desired not something that was a disgrace, but the disgrace itself ibid. Was I able to enjoy that which was not permitted, not because of anything else than that it was not permitted?
What appealed to him, and what he enjoyed, was solely and simply the fact that the proposed act was a theft and a sin volebam frui. What makes the theft of the pears so morally odious is that the motive of the theft was pure malice. The moral one is supposed to extract is that an extremely bad — perhaps the worst — kind of sin one can commit is one that is motivated by the sheer pleasure of sinning 4.
Matthews , Augustine leaves us in no doubt that the form of akrasia he exhibited was that occasioned by pleasure.
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What was it that I took pleasure in? Against the background of these plausible assumptions, then, in identifying pleasure as playing an important role in his theft, he is guaranteeing that his account conforms to the principle that wanting something is always wanting something one believes at the time to be good. The thought is that the items it was the purpose of the action to acquire the pears , were to be distinguished from what it was about the whole thing that he enjoyed or took pleasure in as yet undetermined, but seemingly bound up with some aspect of the act itself, rather than its result, possession of the pears.
Augustine is noting that the real point of the action — that is, what he enjoyed about it — lay not in the purpose by which the action is determined as the kind of action it is a theft , but in the nature of the experience as a whole. It would be overkill to call this a paradox.
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It is a combina- tion of attitudes we very often take toward action, e. That the participants in some sense take winning as their purpose is what defines a sport as com- petitive; but usually something has gone wrong if a player thinks her participation is pointless unless she wins.
Augustine is reminding us of this point because it explains the necessity of the subsequent investigation into pleasure. The problem is obvious.
That is presumably what doing something bad because it was bad amounts to if doing that bad thing is to be a case of pleasure-involving akrasia, as I take it Augustine supposes it to be. The perversity Augustine draws our attention to is the fact that we can take pleasure in the very badness of an action in this way. It is this line of thought, above all, that I want to pick apart.
If the pleasure itself is not explicable in virtue of anything more fundamental — it is not construed as a response to something in the idea of the proposed action, for example — then we can have no way of relating the occasioning of the pleasure with the circumstances that called it forth. It is rather like being struck by lightning. This already looks like a forfeiture of any genuinely explanatory aspirations.
The hypothesis is that this expresses a very widespread misconception of the nature of pleasure. This misconception in- volves neglecting the intentionality of pleasure. In fact, if we read Augustine with this more adequate conception of pleasure in mind, we can see that his account holds out the prospect of real explanatory power, where on the readings of Mann and Matthews he counsels despair.
I further suspect that Augustine is not merely fortunate in having access to a more adequate conception of pleasure. If this is right, then this particular kind of error about pleasure presupposes conceptions fo con- sciousness, mental states and so on that are not available to Augustine.
But I cannot go into that here. But it can also mean forgetting your own taste in books.
So many book blogs will start that are putting out amazing content at an astonishing rate. When you start a blog, you have so many ideas and so much excitement.
Talk Back and You're Dead! 2nd Half
But then you start to exhaust both yourself and your ideas. I would highly, highly recommend making a blogging schedule that you can easily maintain, and scheduling content in advance.
If you have lots of ideas and energy now, schedule them spaced out a bit, so that you have time to recover when you need it.
Book blogging, in my experience, is email-heavy. I get emails submitting ebooks for review, and I email my other reviewers to schedule posts and pass on eARCs. Most of those emails are essentially the same thing typed over and over. I schedule everything through it, because I can send myself email and phone reminders in advance, and I can set up repeating events.
So, because my reviewers on a monthly system one reviews the first Monday of each month, for instance , I set that up as a repeated event, so I always know what day to schedule those for.
I also set up reminders for when I should be doing things like my bi-weekly Link Round Up , or my yearly call for reviewers. In reality, once I finish a book, I have trouble remembering all the important points that I wanted to touch on.
There are some big time bloggers who get sent endless unsolicited ARCs, but the vast majority of book bloggers, even popular ones, reach out to publishers to their ARCs.
I would advise that you build your site a little bit first—gather an audience and show consistency in putting out content—but after that, go out and request!Enjoy your date!!
I give it an A- for being able to tap into the emotions and interests of its target market. Maputi at mukhang mannequin!
Sabi nya ako lang! After reading 5 pages, I can say that it mirrors a sad reality in Philippine telanovelas. After reading this, I was like Biglang huminto si TOP.
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