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How individual was conscience in the early-modern period? Observations on the development of Catholic moral theology.

Reinhardt, Nicole (2015) 'How individual was conscience in the early-modern period? Observations on the development of Catholic moral theology.', Religion., 45 (3). pp. 409-428.

Abstract

This article investigates how the notion of individual conscience has to be understood within the early-modern development of Catholic moral theology. It highlights that 16th-century Catholic theologians continued to understand conscience mainly in Thomist terms as a rational judgment. Yet they also came to investigate more deeply questions of intention and individual circumstances that might interfere with the perfect execution of moral reasoning. Particular emphasis is given to the question of probabilism and whether this new method of analyzing moral agency provided a stepping stone towards a more individualized conception of conscience, as some intellectual historians have contended. The article argues that whilst probabilism sharpened the awareness for problems of conscience, this development cannot be disconnected from the culture of counsel of conscience, inscribed into the fundamentally Thomist definition of it.

Item Type:Article
Keywords:Conscience, Moral theology, Casuistry, Probabilism, Society of Jesus.
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
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Status:Peer-reviewed
Publisher Web site:http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0048721X.2015.1024039
Publisher statement:This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis Group in Religion on 29/05/2015, available online at: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/0048721X.2015.1024039.
Date accepted:No date available
Date deposited:18 September 2015
Date of first online publication:29 May 2015
Date first made open access:29 November 2016

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