December 2017: New History of Probabilism Published



Oxford University Press has published Uncertainty in Post-Reformation Catholicism: A History of Probabilism by Stefania Tutino. The book examines the development and implications of probabilism, a moral theology first articulated in the sixteenth century that, according to Oxford, “maintained that in situations of uncertainty, the agent can legitimately follow any course of action supported by a probable opinion, no matter how disputable.”

 

Within a century of its origin, probabilism became closely with the Jesuits. Chapters in this book focused on the Society of Jesus include an examination of the “theoretical cornerstones” of Jesuit thought as well as the debated within the Society about the case of Honoré Fabri, a seventeenth-century French theologian and scientist. A proponent of probabilism, Fabri was the author of, among other titles, Honorati Fabri, Societatis Jesu, apolgeticus doctrinæ moralis ejusdem Societatis (1670, 1672), the second edition of which was placed on the Index of Forbidden Books.

 

Tutino, a professor of history at the University of California, Los Angeles, argues that “probabilism was instrumental for addressing the challenges created by a geographically and intellectually expanding world,” employed by theologians who wished to “integrate changes and novelties within the post-Reformation Catholic theological and intellectual system.”

 

More information about Uncertainty in Post-Reformation Catholicism is available on the Oxford University Press website.