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Augustine’s Christian Doctrine and the Term “Sign” Report (Assessment)

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Updated: Apr 16th, 2020

Introduction

Augustine, a prominent philosopher, and religious leader made significant contributions, in various discipline. He played a substantial role in advancing his religion (Christianity) and western civilization (Augustine, 354-430 AD).

Augustine also developed a theory that considerably contributed to the development of the art discipline. The theory entails his understanding of sign and how it is applied in other disciplines.

Summary of Augustine theory

Augustine began by explaining his understanding of the sign. Augustine defined a sign as anything g that could trigger the development of the thoughts, in the brain. He noted signs to be either natural or conventional (Augustine, 354-430 AD).

Augustine explained physical signs as things that are unintended to be used as signs but led to certain conclusions, for instance, smoke which signifies fire.

On the other hand, he explained conventional signs as those exchanged by individuals as a way of expressing their feeling or reactions.

Augustine explained that signs communicated by men are frequently noted by two senses, i.e., the sense of sight and hearing. For instance, common signs such as nodding heads, limb movements and certain words can easily are only via visual and hearing senses.

However, in comparison to the two common senses, the ear is the most used sense by men. This is because; most of the signs used by men are often in spoken form.

The use of spoken words was, however, associated with an incredible disadvantage, i.e., it could not last. As a result, there emerged the use of signs in written word form, which could last for a considerable period.

However, the solving of this problem escalated other problems, i.e., some of these written signs can prove ambiguous or unknown to the recipient.

Comments about the art

In his theory, Augustine also included certain comments about art as a significant discipline. Augustine linked his ideologies of conventional signs to drawings, which is a substantial aspect of art (Augustine, 354-430 AD).

He mentioned that drawings could be used as signs, to pass information or to give his perception about something. This is commendable since it clearly shows the practicality of his ideologies and also the link between his thoughts and art.

In general, I must recognize that Augustine’s theory significantly contributed to the development of art, in various capacities. For instance, the theory assisted the artist on how to use signs and also in the understanding setbacks associated with signs.

Application of the theory to the visual art

Augustine’s sign theory can, extensively, be applied in visual art. Augustine explained signs as things that trigger the development of thoughts in mind (Augustine, 354-430 AD). This can be applied to visual art as a way of passing an elaborate message to viewers.

Artists can include certain signs in their paintings, sculptures or drawings to pass or give a more detailed meaning. Written signs from Augustine’s theory can be applied in certain aspects of visual art such as drawings, sculpture or paintings.

This can be observed when an artist decides to include certain written signs, in some of his artworks, to pass a certain message. Augustine’s theory also is used to learn and understand the setbacks associated with the sign, when applying them in visual art.

The use of written word signs, for instance, is subject to ambiguity; thus artist can, therefore, learn how to escape it, when using written symbols. Ultimately, the information from Augustine’s theory can be used to advance the visual artwork when carefully studied.

Conclusion

As an outstanding religious leader and philosopher, Augustine presented a superb theory that entailed his understanding of the term sign. In Augustine’s theory, there are some comments that can be directly or indirectly associated with art. Also, Augustine’s theory can also be applied to visual art, in various capacities.

Work cited

Aurelius, Augustine. . Calvin College. 354-430 AD. Web.

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IvyPanda. "Augustine's Christian Doctrine and the Term "Sign"." April 16, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/augustines-christian-doctrine-and-the-term-sign/.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "Augustine's Christian Doctrine and the Term "Sign"." April 16, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/augustines-christian-doctrine-and-the-term-sign/.

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IvyPanda. (2020) 'Augustine's Christian Doctrine and the Term "Sign"'. 16 April.

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