In the second book of the Confessions, Augustine flabbergasts his interpreters by exaggerating an adolescent escapade and making it a monstrosity. He conjectures that the pear thieves might have commited the theft purely for the sake of thieving, and thus, that they displayed a kind of evil that is not even presented by the arch-villain of Ciceronian antiquity, the conspirer Catilina. Following Aquinas’ interpretation this comparison has been considered a reductio in most of the relevant literature up to now. This paper presents a different interpretation: Augustine is mostly serious about his claim – and there might be more to his argument than meets the eye. The interpretation developed in the present paper is based on a construal of the pear theft as collective agency.
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DOI 10.1515/dzph-2019-0042
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References found in this work BETA

Leviathan.Thomas Hobbes - 1651 - Harmondsworth, Penguin.
Plural Agents.Bennett W. Helm - 2008 - Noûs 42 (1):17–49.
Augustine of Hippo: A Life.Henry Chadwick - 2009 - Oxford University Press.
Augustine.Gareth B. Matthews - 2011 - In H. Lagerlund (ed.), Philosophical Review. Springer. pp. 125--131.

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Taming Augustine’s Monstrosity.Theresa Weynand Tobin - 2009 - Journal of Philosophical Research 34:345-363.


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