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PHL 307 First Essay Criteria: Augustine’s The Teacher (De magistro).


The first essay covers Augustine’s The Teacher (De magistro). Write a paper on one of the topics listed below. Your paper should be 1500-2000 words and will be worth 35% of your final grade. Please upload your paper to Quercus. The lateness penalty is 1/3 of a letter grade per day, to a maximum of three days. Any work submitted after this point will receive a grade of 0. Please choose the citation style (e.g., APA, MLA, or Chicago) you are most comfortable with and use it consistently throughout your paper.

Note that you will be writing an argumentative paper. Your goal is to explain an idea or argument you encountered in your readings and take a position on it. I would like to see that you have been reading the course material and thinking about it as well.

[1] In De magistro x, 32, Augustine says, “Both of us [i.e., Augustine and Adeodatus] have now shown that some men can be taught some things without signs, and that our previous view was wrong, that nothing at all can be shown without signs.” (p. 92) Have Augustine and Adeodatus succeeded in showing that their previous view was wrong?

[2] How does Augustine argue for the conclusion that “[w]e learn nothing by means of these signs we call words”? (p. 94) Is his argument convincing? (Make sure to explain the value that Augustine does attribute to words.)

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