Self and City in the Thought of Saint Augustine
ebook ∣ Recovering Political Philosophy
By Ben Holland
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Self and City in the Thought of Saint Augustine explores the analogy between the self and political society in the thought of St. Augustine of Hippo. This analogy is an important theme in the history of political thought. Attempts have been made to understand the state by examining the soul (since Plato), the body (as in medieval theories of the body politic) and the person (surviving to this day in such concepts as international legal personality). This book aims to reinstate the Augustinian part of the story. It argues that Augustine develops three analogies between self and city, as a society ordered by love: self-love in the case of the Earthly City; divided but improving love in the Pilgrim City; and love of others and of God in the City of God. It supplies thereby an overview of Augustine's intellectual 'system' as it touches upon theology, psychology and anthropology, as well as politics, and also provides a new interpretation of Augustine's important definition of the republic.