St. Augustine, a fourth century philosopher and scholar (354-430), illustrates the significance of undergoing a process of introspection through his Confessions. Readers are taken by the hand and led through his childhood, adolescence, and adulthood all the while being immersed in his reflective thoughts. While Augustine does not make explicit mentions of how political affairs should be directed in Confessions in contrast to his later work, City of God, he sets up the model that one should follow if desiring social change; namely, focusing on inner change first. Particularly, Augustine makes mention of many instances of implicit and explicit violence in his youth which impact his later developed understandings of violence in the public sphere. While Augustine is a clear advocate of participating in the social life, he makes the process of individual introspection a prerequisite so as to ensure the efficacy of the former.

Author information: Aysenur Guc is a senior at Rutgers University, New Brunswick studying philosophy and religion. In the near future, she hopes to pursue graduate studies.



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