Augustine’s evaluation of his own conduct starts from his childhood memories. He describes his childhood as a period where he was fascinated about learning and trying to understand the speech of his parents. He continues by giving an account of his boyhood then later his adolescent stage. Importantly, was an incident where he stole a fruit, and it remains in his head as an excellent example of malice. At Carthage he was a student, frequently visiting the theatre, was a victim of the lusts of the flesh and was a member of a gang of rowdy students. This is when he read his first time gospels and went to Italy where he became a professor.
His confession is an account of a man’s conversion to Christian faith. His confession concentrates on the spiritual life rather than just intellectual arguments (Martin 67). It also explores the importance and contribution of Christianity to the western mind. According to his philosophy, no man is free from sin. According to him, sin is innate to humans, and it’s only by God’s grace human beings hope for salvation. Augustine is directly speaking to God, confessing his sins showing a transition from the ancient to the medieval world.
The Apology by the Socrates shows a man defending himself from unjust accusations. The Apology by the Socrates means explaining and not apologizing. The charges placed on the Socrates came from unjust prejudices that surrounded him overtime. The Apology is also an account of the Socrates speech after being accused of not understanding the gods recognized by the state, corrupting the youth of Athens and inventing new deities. The apology means a speech made in defense. The Socrates does not attempt to apologize for his conduct, but rather defend himself. He speaks with a lot of directness and honesty, explaining that his behavior stems from the oracle’s prophecy who claimed he was the wisest man. He also explains his need to expose the ignorance and false wisdom by the supposed wise men (Plato, 25).
Augustine evaluation of his own conduct is based on what is sinful, and what is right depending on the laws provided by God. The Apology by Socrates, on the other hand, tries to justify their conduct based on wise’s man’s thoughts. However, their conduct is a consequence of their doubt to the oracle prophecy which he believes to be false wisdom. The Socrates argument and his activities earned him the hatred from people he embarrassed and admiration from the youths of Athens. Also, Augustine focuses on the origin of sin and showing his actions in relation to sin, and what is right. Accordingly, the apology focuses on justification of actions based on what is recognizable by the state, his wisdom and how judgment should be passed. According to him, judgment should be passed depending on what is known, as opposed to what is not known, as claimed by the oracle.
Also, Augustine argues about the freedom of his will especially in regards to sex. He also argues about commitment to Christianity as it is the only true religion, and to commit himself as his faith. The confession portrays Augustine’s moral paralysis and lack of freedom brought by his own wrong choices. Augustine’s evaluation of his conduct is largely based on Christian values and factors believed to be wrong and write according to Christian values.
On the other hand, the Socrates’ Apology evaluates their conduct based on their wisdom; they consider themselves the wisest men. They think that knowledge in one field is not sufficient to allow people judge other fields. The Socrates think they are the wisest since they accept their own deficiency and accept not knowing what they do not know. They evaluate their conduct based on different scales and even fault those who attempt to judge them, as being not fully knowledgeable or in a position to judge their conduct.One can argue that most of Augustine’s conduct is judged based on his own thoughts and Christian moral values he deems fit and should be followed. However, Augustine at some point cannot escape the temptation which arises from what people say about his conduct (Vaught, 94).On the other hand, the Socrates are judged based on what is acceptable by the society, and what is largely practice by everyone.
Martin, Thomas R., Barbara H. Rosenwein, and Bonnie G. Smith. The Making of the West,
Combined Volume: Peoples and Cultures. Vol. 1. Macmillan, 2012.
Plato,, Adela M. Adam, and Plato. The Apology of Socrates. Cambridge [Cambridgeshire:
Cambridge University Press, 2001. Print.
Vaught, Carl G. Access to God in Augustine's Confessions: Books 10-13. Albany: State