Saint Augustine – Science

Saint Augustine was both a theologian and a philosopher. In his work, he reflects on science.

Indeed, in book X of the Confessions (397 – 400), Saint Augustine shows
that the sciences – in the sense of knowledge – are intimately linked to the

1. The sciences in the memory

The chapter X entitled “That the sciences are in the memory without having entered there by the senses” wonders about the following paradoxical fact:
“I retain well in my memory the images of the sounds that formed these words; and I know that after passing through the air with noise, they have
have vanished.

St. Augustine writes,“They were therefore in me even before I learned them.”

2. The sciences that do not come from the senses are in the mind

He gives a conclusion to these reflections in the next chapter, Chapter XI entitled,“That the sciences are acquired by gathering the notions which were as it were scattered in our minds.

“Thus, to learn the sciences of which we have not received the images by the senses, but which we consider in our mind without any images as they are in themselves, is nothing other than to gather by our thought the things which were scattered here and there without any order in our memory.”

3. The mathematical sciences are in the memory

The memory contains the mathematical sciences:

Memory also contains the innumerable reasons and rules of numbers and dimensions which arithmetic and geometry teach us, none of which it has received by the operation of the bodily senses, since they have neither color, sound, smell, nor flavor, nor anything that can be touched.

Chapter XII“On the memory we have of Mathematics

Quotes on Science