St. Augustine Of Hippo
(November 13, 354 - August 28, 430)
Roman Church Father
- Early education experiences at Madaura and Tagaste, where he learned
from reading works by authors such as Cicero and Vergil.
- Studied rhetoric at Carthage, 370-373
Ideas and Contributions
- 373-388, teacher of rhetoric in Carthage, Milan and Rome
- 391-430, priest, later bishop of Hippo [now Annaba, Algeria]
Augustine developed the Christian principles of original sin, divine
grace, and predestination. The theological aspects of both Catholic and
Protestant theology are based Augustine's ideas. His ideas also influenced
the Reformation leaders John Calvin and Martin Luther, and philosophers
Immanuel Kant and Blaise Pascal. His psychological ideas were first published
in Confessions, one of the earliest great autobiographies.
His insightful descriptions of subjective events (e.g., the will, experienced
freedom of the will, the self) begin the tradition of introspection and
phenomenology in psychology. Augustine discussed the perception of time
and concluded that time is an inner experience, i.e., it is psychological.
He anticipated Descartes concerning the proof of self-existence: to doubt
is to think, to think is to exist. (Zusne, p. 14)
Through the medieval period and the reintroduction of Aristotle's ideas,
Augustine's thoughts on psychology were the only accepted ones. Augustine
espoused Plato's view that the soul is immaterial and immortal, and that
the body is material and mortal. He believed that knowledge was obtained
through self-awareness and not from sensory impressions. He thought of
the mind as a unity with independent facilities (reason, memory, will
and imagination) and originated what is now known as faculty psychology.
In his text "Confessions", which contains several autobiographical passages,
Augustine tackles such issues as family relations, memory, conversion,
mysticism, the place of sexual renunciation in religion, time and eternity,
Of his written works that have survived to this day include 113 books,
more than 200 letters, and over 500 sermons. Among his most well
- On Free Will (388-95)
- On Christian Doctrine (397)
- Confessions (ca. 406)
- The City of God (413-26)
- On Nature and Grace (415)
- The Retractions (428). A final verdict upon his earlier
Microsoft Encarta 97 Encyclopedia, (1993-1996). Augustine, St.
Zuzne, L. (1957). Names in the history of psychology. New York:
John Wiley and Sons.
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16 May 2013