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Ideological Hesitancy in Spain 1700-1750$
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Ivy L. McClelland

Print publication date: 1991

Print ISBN-13: 9780853230977

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.5949/UPO9781846317323

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date: 23 January 2018

The False Alarm of ‘Scepticism’

The False Alarm of ‘Scepticism’

Chapter:
(p.9) Chapter 2 The False Alarm of ‘Scepticism’
Source:
Ideological Hesitancy in Spain 1700-1750
Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.5949/UPO9781846317323.004

In the early decades of the eighteenth century, Spain experienced a mental re-adjustment characterised by curiosity, distrust, unease, hesitation, confusion, enterprise, and active and passive assimilation. The well-informed thinker of the period neither totally embraced the ideals of free scientific inquiry nor rejected the importance of scientific discovery. In order to understand how such a thinker prepared for the age of rationalism, it is necessary to look at the reasons for his inner reservation and his role in the prevailing atmosphere of tension and cross-purpose. In particular, one must observe how any one individual could display contradictory emotions, or how intellectually susceptible men, such as Torres Villarroel, might reflect fashionable modernism and fashionable conservatism at the same time. In early eighteenth-century Spain, polemic over scientific enlightenment was linked to the use of the word, ‘sceptical’, as applied to medicine, by Martin Martinez. To the vulgo the word ‘scepticism’ was more reminiscent of religious heresy than of either Greek doctrine or Baconian openmindedness.

Keywords:   Spain, scepticism, vulgo, Torres Villarroel, medicine, Martin Martinez, religious heresy, scientific enlightenment, rationalism

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