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TWO CITIES AND TWO LOVES: IMITATION IN AUGUSTINE'S MORAL PSYCHOLOGY AND POLITICAL THEORY

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Abstract:

This article explores the surprisingly important role played in Augustine's moral and political theory by the idea that pride, the great evil of Augustine's system, was capable of mimicking both the actions and the outward effects of the one good in his moral system, charity. This feature of Augustine's moral psychology, the article shows, underlay two of the most important aspects of Augustine's political theory. First, Augustine's understanding of the imitative relationship between pride and charity served as the basis of his understanding of the mutually informing and sometimes even tenuously cooperative relationship between the otherwise seemingly antagonistic forces of the earthly and the heavenly city. Second, Augustine's conception of the radical moral opacity in human life lays the groundwork for some of Augustine's more troubling positions on questions of the nature of political theory and the moral requirements of political action.

Keywords: Augustine; Pierre Nicole; Rome; capacity; charity; earthly city; evil; glory; heavenly city; imitation; judge/judgement; love; moral dilemmas; moral psychology; political action; political ethics; political theory; pride; reflection; use/usefulness

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2005-01-01

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