Augustine's Confessions and the origins of contemporary psychology.
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This thesis argues that Augustine’s Confessions, through its conceptualization of the inner self, constitutes as the earliest contribution to modern psychology, specifically to introspection and to more contemporary cognitive psychology. My argument is composed of six parts. First, I oppose the confused modern notion of Platonic “psychology” in order to convey the difference between this Platonic “soul talk” and the advanced theories of Augustine. Second, I offer a definition of psychology as a modern discipline and elaborate on the two specific realms of psychology pertaining to my argument: introspection and cognitive psychology. Third, I give an account of the fortunes of Augustine within the context of the history of psychology in order to document when his work was mentioned in psychological texts, when his work faded out from these texts and why, and finally when he was reintroduced to psychology and why his presence is significant. Fourth, I present a focused discussion of Philip Cary, Augustine’s Invention of the Inner Self: The Legacy of a Christian Platonist, in order to emphasize the innovative nature of Augustine’s theory of inner self. Fifth, I give an overview of the Confessions, identify passages in books I‐IX and XI‐XIII relevant to Book X, and give a detailed analysis of Book X with a specific focus on the inner self, memory, and God. Finally, I argue for the Confessions as a valuable and necessary component in any student’s understanding not of the pre‐history, but the living history of contemporary psychology.
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