Volume 95, Issue 3, Summer 2021
Amo, Ergo Cogito: Phenomenology’s Non-Cartesian Augustinianism
Phenomenologists turn to Augustine to remedy the neglect of life, love, and language in the Cartesian cogito: (1) concerning life, Edmund Husserl appropriates Augustine’s analysis of distentio animi, Edith Stein of vivo, and Hannah Arendt of initium; (2) concerning love, Max Scheler appropriates Augustine’s analysis of ordo amoris, Martin Heidegger of curare, and Dietrich von Hildebrand of affectiones; (3) concerning language, Ludwig Wittgenstein appropriates Augustine’s analysis of ostendere, Hans-Georg Gadamer of verbum cordis, and Jean-Luc Marion of confessio. Phenomenology’s non-Cartesian Augustinianism can tell us something about phenomenology, namely that it is engaged in the project of recontextualizing the cogito, and something about Augustine, namely how radically different his project is than Descartes’s. Phenomenology presents an Augustine that is well positioned for the debates of our times concerning mind and world, desire and the human person, and language and embodiment.