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Augustine and Academic SkepticismA Philosophical Study$
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Blake D. Dutton

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780801452932

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801452932.001.0001

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The Error of the Academics

The Error of the Academics

(p.120) Chapter 6 The Error of the Academics
Augustine and Academic Skepticism

Blake D. Dutton

Cornell University Press

This chapter examines Augustine of Hippo's attempt to discredit the Academics by seeking to convict them of error. When Augustine goes to convict the Academics of error, he is careful to argue that, in addition to errors of assent, there are also errors of non-assent, and that these errors are every bit as serious as those involving assent. Errors of non-assent are errors to which the Academics are especially prone. This chapter first considers Augustine's discussions of error in Against the Academics before turning to the nature of error as the Academics conceived it. It then discusses the error of non-assent and the problems it engenders, along with two anecdotes presented by Augustine in Against the Academics regarding this error. It also explores Augustine's charge that the Academics commit the Error of Non-Assent with respect to the goal, not only of discovering of truth, but also of attaining happiness.

Keywords:   error, Augustine of Hippo, Academics, Against the Academics, error of non-assent, truth, happiness

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