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Educação e Filosofia

Print version ISSN 0102-6801On-line version ISSN 1982-596X


COSTA, Daiane Rodrigues  and  CENCI, Angelo Vitório. The education of the inner-man: The cultivation of will in Augustine of Hippo. Educação e Filosofia [online]. 2021, vol.35, n.73, pp.273-299.  Epub Jan 11, 2024. ISSN 1982-596X.

This study is aimed at investigating human formation in the philosophical works On the literal meaning of Genesis, On the Trinity and On free choice of the will, by Augustine of Hippo. To meet that aim, the author’s notion of anthropology is addressed; his understanding of body and soul (human dimension in the human animal) and, finally, we explain some assumptions related to the education of the human being as leading to the good formation of will. This is a bibliographical, exploratory and hermeneutical study. Augustine conceives the idea of man as a being with body and soul. The soul, when well formed, can lead individuals to life with wisdom and, therefore, to a beata vita. Will moves all the other dimensions of the human being and, thus, it must be well formed. For Augustine, the education of the will consists of performing the game of using objects that work as means for something and enjoy or contemplate what is an end in itself. Human will differs from that of the animal kingdom and is capable of guiding man well, granting him a minimal relation of detachment from the material. The conclusion, based on such guidelines from Augustine’s thought, is that Augustinian ethics establishes principles for acting well and reaching a happy life and, at the same time, demands, for those aims, a formative process that consists of the education of the will, as Augustine understands it as free in itself, i.e., as self-determining, for it can turn by itself to what is a constant presence, i.e., to objects of contemplative scope and move away, as far as possible, from the dictates of a life submitted to the material world.

Keywords : Formation; Will; Cultivation; Saint Augustine; Soul.

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