American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly

Volume 93, Issue 2, Spring 2019

Baroque Scholasticism

Rudolf Schuessler
Pages 335-360

Scholastic Social Epistemology in the Baroque Era

Social epistemology existed in the scholastic tradition in the shape of doctrines on the legitimate use of probable opinions. Medieval scholasticism had developed sophisticated approaches in this respect, but the apogee of scholastic theoretical reflection on social epistemology occurred in the Baroque era and its Catholic moral theology (late sixteenth to eighteenth centuries). The huge debate on probable opinions at that time produced the most far-reaching and deepest investigations into the moral and epistemological foundations and limitations of opinion-based, reasonable discourse prior to the late twentieth century. It is time to recover the arguments and claims of Baroque scholastic social epistemology, not only to fill a lacuna in intellectual history but also to see whether some of its challenges are still with us today.