Ethics (Moral Philosophy) of Augustine

Ethics (Moral Philosophy) of Augustine

June 26, 2021 Off By Felso

Memoria, which Augustine determines as the place where God is confronted, is also a ground character for praising God’s glory. The work of seeking God in the company of illuminatio is also an act of seeking the truth.

Therefore, human life is an activity of seeking the truth, that is, God. Augustine, like other medieval philosophers, places God at the center of his thought; In relation to Him, other existences take their places around the center. Man, according to Augustine, consists of soul and body. Here, what kind of existence the soul exhibits becomes important. According to him, the soul is a substance with spiritual properties. This spiritual structure gives him immortality. Immortality, on the other hand, describes the soul’s share of divine truth and its relationship with it.

According to Augustine, the universe is beautiful because it was created by the grace and goodness of God himself. This is also true of Plato’s world. Although there, the world emerged as an aesthetic object, as Demiurges carried out his action with his firm adherence to principles. The beauty here becomes apparent directly in the mind of God. This is exactly why, for Augustine, the rational soul of man has to pursue beauty and therefore the good. Because there is no other ability that can perform this action and appreciate this good with its entire existence.

At the same time, there is a situation of attraction and attraction for the mental soul of man to share in the divine truth. For, it is not just the mental soul; but also many other existences share in this truth. According to Augustine, this holds everything and everyone together in terms of getting a share; The most important concept that leads to God in the center is love. The coexistence of everything in the universe thanks to this love and the different relationships between them create a kind of beauty. This beauty is a reflection of God, who is undoubtedly the most beautiful. Here is the reason for everything, investigating the nature of this beauty and starting from this beauty.
The discipline that deals with the nature of the voluntary tendency is called ethics.

A sentence from Cicero’s Hortensius pervades Augustine’s entire philosophy: “We all certainly want to be happy.” Happiness is central to all of Augustine’s works. In De Vita Beata (About the Happy Life), Augustine states that the goal of happiness is the good. However, the best that this good in man shares is God himself, and precisely because of this, beatitudo, which means endless happiness, exists only in God. So, the most important indicator of being virtuous is that the good only desires and aims the best for himself. After obtaining it once, man will no longer strive for any other purpose (Teske, 2009: :35-36).

According to the Christian belief (credo), man fell into this world because of his original sin. Therefore, he is unable to use his mental abilities properly. This includes his will. His will, however, is inescapably necessary to pursue the best as an end. A will left to itself is enslaved by its passions. According to Augustine, of course, man has the freedom of choice (liberum arbitrium). But man cannot use this freedom to do what he is supposed to do. Because man has lost his freedom through original sin and will need God’s grace to regain it. The first stage in which this need takes shape is the love we mentioned above. God, who is love himself, draws people towards him thanks to this feature; thus giving man the power to do what is morally necessary to do.

This power, of course, does not mean anything by itself. Just as the human mind cannot discover the ideas contained in it without some kind of mental enlightenment, a kind of moral enlightenment is also needed. Because it is impossible for the will, which is weak due to falling, to aim for the good without this enlightenment. The moral law, which is innate in us, has been given to us by God. In order for us to realize this law, we also have a consciousness given by God. This consciousness is a consciousness determined by God and existentially subordinate to Him. Therefore, the eternal law in God’s mind must somehow illuminate our consciousness in order to be able to predict what we should and should not do morally. As a result of this illumination, only divine laws will have settled in our souls. Since the light of moral illumination comes from God and virtues such as prudence, fortitude, moderation and justice are found in God, the influence of these virtues leaves traces in our souls and we strive to exhibit virtuous behaviors by following these traces.

Prepared by:┬áSociologist ├ľmer YILDIRIM