Summary of Lecture from the Augustine Arguments on Personality

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Harvey Mudd College
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The lecture recognizes the concept of a person as a crucial topic of philosophical interest in addition to the theological circles. In the lecture, the professor begins by asking why the word personality is misleading or ridiculous in most cases and contexts where it is used. Various responses from students show that person as a sense of being a person or a particular disposition. In the same way, it is a physical concept because it is something too obscure and mysterious about anybody. According to the professor, the concept of personality can also be used to describe an individual in regard to his or her traits that he or she possesses. For instance, someone who is very large and fast can be described by his personality in a different manner to someone who cannot listen. The same also applies to someone who is skinny and who also possesses other qualities.

From the lecture, it becomes evident that various English words that best express the word personality exist and include the words I and He or She. A fundamental difference that exists between these words, however, is that everyone can call an individual He but no one can refer to other individuals as I. From this concept, however, the lecture reveals that the concept of person is closely associated with the concept of self or self-conscious being with powers of reasoning, moral judgment, and self-determination. The concept further develops in two directions and on one hand, if the concept of is person is understood as essentially an enduring being having powers of intellect and will, some type of theory of the self as substance results. In this sense, the concept of personality has been the dominant theory of the self in Western philosophy, which has been further advanced by other personalities and great thinkers such as the as Aristotle, Aquinas, Descartes, and Locke. On the other hand, if a concept of person is understood as a component of intellect and will, and because knowing and willing is relational, it results in some given types of theory of self-relational. In fact, the relational theories have become much more prominent in the nineteenth and twentieth-century philosophy.

The major question is asked in the lecture by the professor in regard to this statement that, How do you progress from the new starting point of the I the self-consciousness? Is it through reason, sensation, through philosophy, and collectivizing? Humans are defined in two ways, in regard to the material wealth and spiritual wealth. However, all these are linked to the concept of personality. As the lecture continues, the instructor mentions that the greatest crisis in the modern politics is to preserve this concept of a person. Various technological means of enhancing this preservation exists as a result. However, an important why is the 20 century the century in which we have the most personalism in nations and thus major impacts.

The lecture also provides a discussion and understanding of Augustines doctrine. Specifically, the professor discusses Augustines discussion of Trinity, which involves the one essence or substance and the three Persons. Under these contexts, person is understood in terms of the relationships that exist within one substance. In Augustines discussion of Incarnation, the Person is understood in terms of the unified relationships of three substances. In the Trinity, the one substance is constituted by the threefold relation and integrates the Persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Finally, the lecture further offered an exposition of Augustines analysis of love. The professors assertions portray Augustine as an individual who goes beyond a purely formal concept of person, as well as the traditional concept of the person as a substance. From this perspective, a person is regarded as an individual being who loves, but to love subjects him into a relationship with another being who loves.

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