Reason and Will. Remarks on Augustine’s Idea of Power


In contemporary discourse, for a person to be powerful means no more than for them to be capable of significantly influencing their surroundings in accordance with their will. Whether the influence is intellectually driven or not, remains a secondary issue. An ancient, yet surprisingly relevant idea of power is to be found in the writings of an early Christian thinker, Augustine of Hippo. We analyse Augustine’s concept of potestas in its anthropological dimension, examining the source and core of man’s power. Despite the long voluntarist tradition of reading the Bishop’s writings, we argue that it is the intellect that plays the kingly role and is the most empowering of human faculties. This understanding of the concept of power attempts to reinstate into contemporary discourse that which has been largely lost from discussions of power.



English (en)


Jadwiga Guerrero van der MeijdenJagiellonian University in Krakow

Karol WilczyńskiJagiellonian University in Krakow


Orbis Idearum Volume 3, Issue 1 (2015), pp. 33–60
The Idea of Power