By Julia Fleming, Charles E. Curran

During the centuries, on the middle of Catholic ethical theology is a primary query: How will we behave responsibly within the face of ethical uncertainty? makes an attempt to solve difficulties of lifestyle ended in the expansion of quite a few ethical structures, considered one of which emerged within the early seventeenth century and used to be often called "probabilism." this technique of fixing tricky ethical circumstances allowed the believer to rely on a view that used to be judged defensible when it comes to its arguments or the professionals at the back of it, whether the other opinion used to be supported by way of more desirable arguments or extra specialists. The theologian Juan Caramuel, a Spanish Cistercian monk whom Alphonso Liguori famously characterised as "the prince of laxists," has been considered as one of many extra severe -- and infamous -- proponents of probabilism. because the merely full-length English research of Caramuel's theological approach, protecting Probabilism seeks to reappraise Caramuel's legacy, claiming that his version of ethical pondering, if greater understood, can truly be of support to the Church this day. one in every of the main erudite theologians of his age, a scientist and pupil who released works on every thing from astronomy and structure to printing and Gregorian chant, Caramuel strove all through his existence to appreciate probabilism's theological and philosophical foundations as a part of his broader research of the character of human wisdom. In employing Caramuel's legacy to our personal time, protecting Probabilism demands a reconsideration of the worth of provisional ethical wisdom. Fleming's research indicates that historical past issues, and that to achieve any place on ethical certitude is a tough and painstaking strategy.

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Extra resources for Defending Probabilism: The Moral Theology of Juan Caramuel (Moral Traditions)

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146 Such variations in historical and cultural circumstances, as well as in the capacities of individuals, create a necessary space for recourse to probable opinions. Finally, one should note that Caramuel’s characteristic approach to sources—independent, self-consciously innovative, and attentive to historical circumstances and cultural variation—was antithetical to the type of theology favored by many in the late seventeenth century, including (but by no means limited to) the Jansenists. Jansenism, after all, began as a project of recovery, born from its author’s reading and re-reading Augustine.

13 Fundamentum 11, which considers probable opinion, appears at the very end of the first section on speculative foundations, including human The Nature and Types of Probabilitas 29 liberty, grace, divine omniscience, creation and Providence, the infallibility of the Church, and the authority of various sources of knowledge. Caramuel thus places his consideration of probable opinion within the context of a broader discussion of moral epistemology. Fundamentum 11 begins with a discussion of the relationship between probability and truth.

Therefore, let him produce the theologians mad [enough to utter] this absurdity . . Theologians have said in this case, that the husband . . 134 Caramuel’s statement would seem to speak for itself. ) proposition as a misstatement of his own views, but as a spurious argument reflecting no theologian’s position. 135 In 1677, three members of the university’s theology faculty, journeying to Rome to press for the condemnation, made a detour to Vigevano to urge Caramuel to retract his positions. The unexpected confrontation reduced the elderly bishop to a short fit of weeping.

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