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QUESTION: When reading soliloquy is it reasonable to assume that things in the world deceive Augustine?

ANSWER: This is not my area of expertise, but I've researched it for you and I think the answer is no. The (simple, brief, reason is that his theory of knowledge is one of direct acquaintance, and in it, to be directly acquainted with something is automatically to be directly acquainted with it correctly. There is, in addition, no way a non-rational soul can deceive, so things in the world, even though they have souls, cannot deceive because they do not have the intellectual means or the will to do so.




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QUESTION: Awesome as it makes the research a bit easier. The sticking point for me is addressing from Augustine's perspective how one can judge things truly even when one perceives them falsely and how can one judge things falsely even when one perceives them truly. A conundrum that is puzzling.

Augustine's answer would be that such conflicts should be resolved by reason. (He does not seem to have considered the case of optical illusions.) Explaining those would require the development of optical physics, which was about 1200 years in the future.

Hope this helps.




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Charles K. MacKay


I can answer a number of questions in philosophy; my academic concentrations (graduate school at Cornell) are ethics, political philosophy, and 19th-century German philosophy (Marx, Hegel, and hangers-on.)



BA, New College, 1971, Philosophy and Religion
Awarded four graduate fellowships upon graduation

MA, Cornell University, 1974
Social and Political Philosophy, Danforth Fellowship

All course work and dissertation drafts completed for Ph.D. Cornell University, 1971-1975, Social and Political Philosophy, Danforth Fellowship

Courses in statistics and microeconomics, George Washington University and The American University, 1976-1978

EXPERIENCE: Health Insurance Specialist 2005 - Present
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service
US Department of Health and Human Services

Allentown Business School Instructor (Computer Science) 2003 - 2005

Northampton Community College
Adjunct Professor of Philosophy 2003 -2005

Lehigh County Community College
Adjunct Professor of Philosophy and Computer Science


Medicare Made Easy (with Charles B. Inlander) Addison-Wesley, 1989

Good Operations, Bad Operations (with Charles B. Inlander) Viking Press, 1993

Health Rebooted: Information Changes Everything (in press), 2008

Bachelor of Arts, Philosphy and Religion, New College, 1971 Master of Arts, Social and Political Philosophy, Cornell University, 1975

Awards and Honors
Danforth Fellowship, Woodrow Wilson Fellowship

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