Volume 21, 2018
Cristina Marta Simeone
St. Augustine and the Search for Truth
With the aim of strengthening the deep desire and the hope to find the truth, St. Augustine writes against the Academics, based on the Ciceronian formulation of the academic doctrine. Advocate of the probabilism of Carneades, Cicero confronted the opposite arguments to reach the probable, to find the closest to the truth. The probability is the real guide of life. According to St. Augustine, academics altered the concept of classical philosophy. The wise academic is an irrational and contradictory creature. He who does not admit anything as certain, nothing does, since without certainty no action is possible. The academics dissociated theory from practice, threatening the whole moral order. Neither have sense to hide behind the verisimilitude, approach the true or establish approximations to the truth as rules of action. How can man, who does not know the face of the truth, dare to talk about of the resemblance to this truth? But, since his conversion, his skepticism had been overcome. St. Augustine did not longer believe, as Cicero, that the truth was submerged in a deep hole, and man could not find it. In discussing the academic question, St. Augustine wanted to satisfy a personal desire: reach the truth.