Augustine’s Confessions

Augustine's Confessions

What do the complexity, the possibility, and the difficulty of Augustine’s transformation tell us about what it means to be human? What do they tell us about how to effect radical transformation in our own lives?

Course Details

January 11 – February 22
Thursdays, 5:00-7:00 PM

Why Take This Course?

We will read Augustine’s autobiographical account of his long and difficult journey to come to a new vision of the world and himself in it. Augustine’s transformation consists in a conversion to Christianity, but we will read his text as a phenomenology of personal transformation generally – and indeed, of transformation that does not happen instantaneously but is born of many factors over a long period of time and requires significant personal labor.

We will ask how interactions, role models, speeches, and books together made Augustine who he was, furthered his transformation, and even held him back from it. What do the complexity, the possibility, and the difficulty of Augustine’s transformation tell us about what it means to be human? What do they tell us about how to effect radical transformation in our own lives? Classes will be discussion- based and students can expect to complete weekly writing assignments as well as a final reflection paper.

Kate Withy is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at Georgetown University, where she has worked since 2009. She specializes in the work of Martin Heidegger, and is interested in questions about the logic and ontology of sense-making. She is currently thinking a lot about conceptual change and normative innovation. She is working on a book detailing what Heidegger can (and cannot) tell us about these.

Kate Withy received her PhD from The University of Chicago, where she worked primarily with Jonathan Lear and John Haugeland. She has her undergraduate degrees from The University of Auckland, New Zealand.

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