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Grant number: FA-57564-14

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Stefania Tutino
University of California, Santa Barbara (Santa Barbara, CA 93106-0001)

Probabilism in Early Modern Europe: Epistemology, Politics, and Moral Theology

As David Foster Wallace said in his 2005 commencement speech at Kenyon College, nowadays 'the only thing that's capital-T True is that you get to decide how you're gonna try to see it.' Every day we face clashes between contrasting truths. Abortion or gay marriages are controversial because different people hold different beliefs as true, and it is hard to find a compromise when opposite truths are at stake. In the early modern world opposite Truths fought one another, and theologians were tasked with asserting their own Truth as absolutely certain. Probabilism was a novel and controversial kind of Catholic moral theology: it stressed the uncertainty and fallibility of all human religious and political norms, and it sought to find theological and epistemological venues for compromise. Examining how early modern probabilists grappled with their moral dilemmas allows us to see more clearly the roots and significance of our own quandaries and to put them in a wider and deeper perspective.

[Grant products]

Project fields:
History of Religion; Intellectual History; Renaissance History

Fellowships for University Teachers

Research Programs

Total amounts:
$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2014 – 8/31/2015