Criticizes philosophy by using philosophy's own resources of argumentation. He makes positive use of philosophical resources, but in this work he reminds us that reason without faith will fail in understanding.
The two schools and their similar beliefs
Epicureans and stoics: The acquisition of certain moral character traits will result in the happy life; philosophical practice will produce these traits and thus happiness; happiness is located either in the body or soul or both.
Goal of the Epicurean school:
The pleasure of existence, to be achieve above all by the absence of fear of jealous gods and punishment in the afterlife. Pleasure = not merely bodily pleasures - though freedom from physical pain is important - but the freedom from external worries or cares
Epicureans: How is the liberation from physical pain and mental anguish accomplished?
By freeing oneself from one's desires. if one desires nothing, then one will not be disappointed when a desire goes unsatisfied [this means becoming indifferent to the suffering of the body]
Epicurean idea of a happy life
Requires good friends and family
Augustine's critique of the Epicureans
Friendship is necessary for a happy life, but it is impossible to be without worry when one has friends [we worry for ourselves - betrayal, and for them - their well-being]. Hence, the Epicurean is caught in a paradox/inconsistency. This picture of friendship reduces friends to instruments of pleasure.
Goal of Stoicism
Happiness in this life. Happiness: found not in pleasure but in active virtuous character
Stoics: What is the one thing humans truly possess?
Virtue - the other possessions [material, social power, & reputation] are not really one's own. When the stoic realizes this, he can become indifferent to these values and thus free himself from ordinary life worries.
Augustine's critique of the stoic
Virtue is always tied to vice. Temperance exists only to control the body's lust. Hence, the existence of temperance proves that there is carnal lust in each of us. Prudence exists to control the temptation toward evil - it exists to counter the threat of foolishness. Thus, the existence of prudence proves that there is evil all around us and in us - the Stoic's belief that the possession of virtue banishes evil in us is flawed. How can we ever claim to be happy in this life?
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