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Book chapter

Between Ambrose and the Arians: Augustine and his Critique of Dialectic

The paper addresses the controversial question to which extent Augustine's views on dialectic have changed during his intellectual development. It argues that there is a high probability that Augustine changed his views in response to apparent misuse of dialectical tools by defenders of the Arian heresy – a misuse explicitly criticised by Ambrose of Milan whose influence on Augustine should not be underestimated. In De Doctrina Christiana Augustine abandons his earlier view that dialectic is a tool for gaining new knowledge. But it can nevertheless have a valid role in Christian education and hermeneutics, because it allows to test the formal validity of inferences.