What Does the Happy Life Require? Augustine on What the Summum Bonum Includes

Oxford Studies in Medieval Philosophy 8:1-41 (2020)
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Abstract

Many critics of religion insist that believing in a future life makes us less able to value our present activities and distracts us from accomplishing good in this world. In Augustine's case, this gets things backwards. It is while Augustine seeks to achieve happiness in this life that he is detached from suffering and dismissive of the body. Once Augustine comes to believe happiness is only attainable once the whole city of God is triumphant, he is able to compassionately engage with present suffering and see material and social goods as part of our ultimate good.

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Caleb Cohoe
Metropolitan State University of Denver

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