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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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First-Person Truths

First-Person Truths

(p.228) Chapter 11 First-Person Truths
Augustine and Academic Skepticism

Blake D. Dutton

Cornell University Press

This chapter examines Augustine of Hippo's treatment of first-person truths. Augustine recognized the antiskeptical potential of the first-person truths that he identified from his earliest days as a writer and considered their apprehensibility to be immune to skeptical challenge. We may take such first-person truths to constitute a fifth class of truths, whose existence Augustine thinks is a decisive refutation of the Academics' denial of the possibility of knowledge. This chapter begins with an overview of the earliest discussions of first-person truths in Augustine's corpus, including Soliloquies, and goes on to consider Augustine's account of our knowledge of first-person truths. It then analyzes Augustine's defense of his claim to know first-person truths and relates his treatment of first-person truths to his exploration of introspection as a fertile source of knowledge that is grounded in the mind's presence to itself.

Keywords:   first-person truths, Augustine of Hippo, Academics, possibility of knowledge, Soliloquies, introspection

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