The Virtual Medieval Colloquium 9

21 may 2020 18:00 - 19:30

Weekly online seminar series organized by Robert Pasnau, professor of Philosophy at the University of Colorado Boulder, current Paris IAS Fellow, with the support of the Paris IAS.


by Robert Pasnau

Augustine’s Early, Abandoned Proof for the Immortality of the Soul
by Scott MacDonald (Cornell University).


In three texts composed within a year of each other (386-87), Augustine presents several versions of an argument for the immortality of the soul. Despite his initial enthusiasm for it, Augustine abandons the argument almost immediately and without comment; after 387 we never see it again. The argument is deeply flawed in ways that make Augustine’s abandonment of it entirely understandable. But for all its difficulties, it provides an illuminating glimpse into Augustine’s early thinking about issues that will come, over the span of his career, to define his own philosophical system and his relation to his Platonist forebears. What must be the nature of mind, reality, and cognition if we are to know intelligible objects and truths? How are we to account for our cognitive contact with things eternal and immutable? Perhaps the mind must be immortal?

This talk, like previous ones, will be recorded. You can find a link to each recording on the original announcement page for each talk.

No registration needed. You can watch live and participate in the Q & A following this Zoom link:



Voluntarism and the Unmaking of the Medieval World
01 September 2019 - 30 June 2020
21 May 2020 19:30
Robert Pasnau
Seminars and Summerschools