Contents

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p. x

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Foreword

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pp. xi-xv

Why do we study and read history? History has a value and, importance in itself. The pursuit of knowledge is a good in itself. History has become a very significant academic discipline in our world and history touches all aspects of our existence. Countries are proud of...

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Preface

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pp. xvii-xxii

In 1663 Juan Caramuel, the bishop of a poor Italian diocese, responded to what he regarded as dangerous ethical innovations by defending in print a “most ancient and universal” Christian moral doctrine. Rejecting this tradition, he warned, would lead to dire consequences for...

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Acknowledgments

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p. xxiii

While the author bears responsibility for all errors and weaknesses in the present work, its production would have been impossible without the assistance of others, especially Charles E. Curran, who composed the foreword, James Keenan, S.J., and Richard Brown of Georgetown University...

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Chapter 1. Situating Probabilism: The Ethical Theory and Its Significance for Caramuel

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pp. 1-25

Because today neither probabilism nor Caramuel himself is likely to be a popular topic of conversation, it would be a mistake to wade into an analysis of his moral theory without clarifying its concepts and outlining its historical context. Answers to the following questions...

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Chapter 2. Advocating Probabilism: Caramuel’s Early Writings and the Proof-Texts They Provided for His Critics

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pp. 26-48

In the Apologema, Caramuel explains his early literary involvement in the discussion of probable opinion by referring to his experiences at Louvain, when Libert Froidmont attempted to promote certain theses: “The use of probabilities is new. He who leaves behind the safe path...

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Chapter 3. Using Probabilism: Avoiding Improbable Warfare and Making Peace with Protestants

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pp. 49-72

Many of Caramuel’s critics objected not only to his theories about probable opinion but also to his use of those theories in resolving particular cases. Thus, in order to understand his approach to probabilism, it is helpful to consider the applications as well as the method...

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Chapter 4. Protecting Probabilism: The Apologema as an Answer to Probabilism’s Critics

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pp. 73-94

In the Pax Licita, Caramuel took the risk of telling Church leaders what he felt they needed, but may not have wanted, to hear. Fifteen years later, he took the same risk in defense of his moral theory. This time, probabilism itself was under attack, from critics too influential to be ignored...

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Chapter 5. Explaining Probabilism: The Apologema’s Project of Education

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pp. 95-117

The reader of the Apologema will quickly recognize that Prospero Fagnani’s arguments have left Caramuel worried, angry, and amused, yet also clearly puzzled by his critic’s inability to accept what he regards as obvious conclusions. Why (one can imagine Caramuel asking...

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Chapter 6. Redefining Probabilism: The Dialexis de Non-Certitudine

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pp. 118-139

Logic suggests that the Apologema should have been Bishop Caramuel’s last major analysis of probable opinion. He had explained probabilism to the authorities of his Church with passion and an enormous sense of urgency. Yet the rebuff from those Church leaders, especially

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Afterword: Remembering Probabilism: The Contemporary Significance of Caramuel’s Legacy

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pp. 141-151

I n the twenty-first century, it is good for moral theologians to read Caramuel, if for no other reason than to recognize how much the presuppositions of ethical theory have changed since he labored over the Theologia Moralia Fundamentalis. The triumph of the Thomist assumption that...

Notes

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pp. 153-194

Index

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pp. 195-201