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The Reception of the 'New Philosophy' in Eighteenth-Century Spain Author(s): Anthony Pagden Source: Journal of the Warburg and

Courtauld Institutes, Vol. 51 (1988), pp. 126-140 Published by: The Warburg Institute Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/751266 . Accessed: 23/12/2013 07:57
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THE RECEPTION OF THE 'NEW PHILOSOPHY' IN EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY SPAIN* Anthony Pagden


In memoryof CharlesB. Schmitt I is a history of the attempt, flawed and ultimately unsuccessful, by an intellectual elite in early eighteenth-century Spain to win recognition for what its members loosely described as the 'New Philosophy'. It is also the history of the survival into the eighteenth century of Thomist jusnaturalism, one of the most powerful intellectual traditions in Early-Modern Europe. Both the attempt and the survival offer some explanation, however partial, as to why what has come to be called 'the scientific revolution of the seventeenth century' never made much impact in Spain. The 'New Philosophy'-la nueva filosofia-describes a set of views on scientific method and a set of intellectual, and on occasions social and political, attitudes implicit in the holding of such views, associated, frequently very loosely, with the philosophy of Descartes. It was not, however, in any strict sense Cartesianism. As Benito Jer6nimo Feijoo, the Spanish encyclopaedist, wrote: 'What we call "The New Philosophy" is in no way dependent upon the Cartesian system. One may say that Cartesianism is a New Philosophy but not that "The New Philosophy" is Cartesian'.1 In most respects the Spanish New Philosophers were no more eclectic than some of Descartes's French, German or English epigones, though they were clearly often eclectic in very different ways. Cartesianism demanded a very radical departure from existing methods of cognition which it is difficult for us to understand fully, committed as we have been for the past two hundred years to taking Descartes's assumptions about the role of philosophy for granted. As Charles Taylor has pointed out, only when we have understood why Descartes demanded that his readers spend an entire month considering the first Meditation will we understand just how startling both Descartes's sceptical methodology and mind/body dualism were to the seventeenth-century mind. Even for so sympathetic a chronicler of the New Philosophy and its Enlightenment heirs as Feijoo, dualism seemed merely counterintuitive, 'vain and contrary to all experience'.2 To more orthodox Spaniards Cartesian scepticism and the insistence on the primacy of the self as the object of
HIS
* An earlier and very primitive version of this essay was given as a lecture, more years ago than I care to to the Department of the History and remember, Philosophy of Science of the Queen's University Belfast. I would like to thank my hosts on that occasion, Robert Hall and Alan Gabbey, for their observations and criticisms. I would also like to thank Nigel Glendinning for extensive bibliographical assistance. 1 Cartas eruditas y curiosas, no. 16, II, Madrid 1758, p. 222. 2 Quoted by Ramon Cefial, 'Feijoo y la filosof~ia de su tiempo', Pensamiento, xxi, 1965, p. 266.

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amounted to much the same knowledge appeared little short of insane or-which since what such claims demanded was a complete re-evaluation of thing-heretical, most of the traditional, Aristotelian assumptions about what it is to describe the world. What Descartes proposed became, of course, the project of modern philosophy, the claim that the mind is a mirror reflecting a law-governed nature and that philosophy is the means by which that mirror is systematically brightened so as to produce increasingly accurate images.3 Cartesianism thus constituted a fully comprehensive system. Like most other systems, like Copernicanism before and Hegelianism after, it could effectively be dismantled and translated into other more familiar idioms. But it was equally clear that, no matter into what language the principles of the Discours and the Meditations were rendered, the Cartesian rejection of Aristotelian hylomorphism and the corresponding insistence that all knowledge the questions posed in the First must proceed from 'clear and simple' ideas-from Meditation: 'how do we know that anything which is mental represents anything which is not mental'4-would ultimately promote an empirical rationalism into the place formerly occupied by theology. The scientific revolution of the seventeenth century challenged the authority of the church in a number of crucial and highly sensitive areas (one of which I shall come to shortly); but more generally it reduced the realm of theology, which previous generations had accepted as the science to which traditionally 'no argument, no disputation, no topic seems alien',5 to that area concerned solely with the relationship between the theos and his creation. The words are those of the Dominican theologian Francisco de Vitoria. Vitoria described in Spain was the first of a group of Spanish neo-Thomists-frequently (because all of them had either taught or been educated at one of the colleges of from the middle of the sixteenth the university) as the 'School of Salamanca'-who, century, dominated the intellectual life of the major Spanish universities.6 The last of the group, whom Leroy Loemaker has called the teacher of Early-Modern Europe,' was the Jesuit Francisco Suarez, the author, among other works, of the De legibus ac deo legislatore, one of the most influential natural-law treatises of the seventeenth century. The project to which these men were dedicated was, in the most general terms, the creation of a moral philosophy grounded in a Thomist of the account of the law of nature, the ius naturae, and the reconstruction Aristotelian virtues upon a base which was both rationalist and naturalist. Their influence was enormous and widespread. Their impact on the work of Descartes himself was considerable. Leibniz improbably claimed that he could read Suirez with as much pleasure as most people read novels.8 Locke shared some of his concerns and adopted some of his arguments,9 and although the great natural-law
3 The trope is, of course, Richard Rorty's, Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature, Princeton 1979, p. 12. 4 Rorty (as in n. 3), pp. 46-7. 5 See Anthony Pagden, 'The Preservation of Order: and the "Ius Naturae"', the School of Salamanca Medieval and Renaissance Studies on Spain and Portugal in Honour ofP E. Russell, ed. F. W. Hodcroft, D. G. Pattison et al., Oxford 1981, pp. 155-65. 6 The more general Italian term 'seconda scolastica' of their provides, however, a better characterization collective historical identity. See La seconda scolastica nella formazione del diritto privato, ed. Paolo Rossi, Milan 1972. 7 Leroy Loemaker, Struggle for Synthesis. The Seventeenth-Century Background ofLeibniz's Synthesis of Order and Freedom, Cambridge Mass. 1972, p. 119. 8 Vita Leibnitii a seipso, in Foucher de Careil, Nouvelles lettres et opuscules inedits de Leibniz, Paris 1857, p. 382. 9 On the similarity between Locke's and Suarez's views of rights see James Tully, A Discourse on Property, 1980, pp. John Locke and his Adversaries, Cambridge 66-68.

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theorists of the seventeenth century, Grotius and Puffendorf, pursued other ends, they could never detach themselves entirely from the language or the methodologies of their Spanish predecessors. By the end of the seventeenth century, however, the main neo-scholastic tradition had atrophied so far that, as one Spanish champion of the New Philosophy, the Minim friar Juan de Najera claimed, 'even the

Sorbonne to which it owed both its beginnings and its progress had come to look upon it with disgust'.10
The Protestant jusnaturalists by their rejection of the Aristotelian virtues for a minimal moral philosophy which would be proof against scepticism, and their consequent concern with sociability and the historical origins of civil society, were successful in transforming the entire discourse, and by so doing made possible its translation into another kind of naturalism, the political economy and the human sciences of the Enlightenment.11 But in Spain itself, where the innovations of Grotius and Puffendorf were treated as heretical and their works prohibited, scholasticism had become by the middle of the seventeenth century (Suirez died in 1617) little more than the stuff of university textbooks and the religious and political ideology of an entrenched and powerful clergy. The universities in Spain in the seventeenth century were thus caught in a web of increasingly overdetermined, decaying scholasticism. In such an intellectual environment even the moderate, synthesizing support for Cartesianism of the kind which marked the work of a man like Tommaso Cattaneo at Padua was rare, and rarely if ever practised openly.12 Descartes does seem to have found some readers within the Spanish universities. For example by 1683 Jose Perez, who held the chair of astronomy at Salamanca, had read Descartes's Traits du monde ou de la lumiere (first printed in 1633) as well as Hobbes, but, as he pointed out, these works were 'hard to come by and prohibited in Spain', and he had only been able to consult them 'by special dispensation from the Inquisition'.13 Similarly Luis Rodriguez de Pedrosa, a of Perez's at Salamanca, seems to have read both doctor and contemporary Descartes and Gassendi (though exactly what he read and how much he understood it is not easy to say) and to have been, in private, an outspoken champion of the New Philosophy.14 But even he admitted that he was afraid to voice his views in public for fear of censure. the cultural At one immediate level, these New Philosophers challenged hegemony of the traditional academic institutions because their concerns, however and individual cognition over cautiously pursued, by privileging experience exegesis, clearly constituted a threat to the system of text-based knowledge on which late scholasticism relied. As the somewhat rebarbative Sevillian doctor Martin
10 Desengaiios philos6phicos, Seville 1737, p. 45. 11 On the language of Grotius and Puffendorf see Richard Tuck, 'The "Modern" Theory of Natural Law', The Languages of Political Theory in Early-Modern Europe, ed. Anthony Pagden, Cambridge 1987, pp. 99-122; and on the transition from natural jurisprudence to political economy, Istvan Hont and Michael Ignatieff, 'Needs and Justice in the Wealth of Nations: an introductory essay', Wealth and Virtue, the Shaping ofPolitical Economy in the Scottish Enlightenment, eds Hont and Ignatieff, Cambridge 1983, pp. 1-44. 12 See Eugenio Garin, 'Cartesio e l'Italia', Giornale critico dellafilosofia italiana, iv, 1956, pp. 385-405. 13 Quoted in Ramon Cefial, 'Cartesianismo en Espafia, notas para su historia', Filosofia y letras (Universidad de Oviedo), 1945, pp. 28-9. This is still the only comprehensive summary of Descartes's influence in Spain. 14 Selectarum philosophiae et medicinae difficultatum ... tomus primus, Salamanca 1666, pp. 80-3. On the genesis of this work see Cefial (as in n. 13), p. 26.

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Martinez remarked of his colleagues, 'the university and its professors [behave] as if the reputation of the Schools consisted in obstinacy and bad teaching-methods'.15 But the most alarming aspect of the new ideas was the threat they offered, or seemed to offer, to the whole notion of an authoritative system of knowledge which lay wholly within the control of the Church. 'Certainly', wrote Juan de Espinosa, the Mercedarian censor of Najera's Desenganos philosophicos, 'the freedom to discuss matters of philosophy has grown so reckless that, without respect for the Holy Fathers or the famous doctors of antiquity, each man invents a new system or digs up whichever old one happens to take his fancy so that knowledge (scientia) has now become a confused Babel in which everyone speaks his own language and no-one can understand what his neighbour is saying'.16 The linguistic metaphor was an apt one. Without the authoritative discourse which the scholastics had built into so complex a structure that it could embrace the whole world of experience, all thought would stumble back into the conceptual anarchy of Babel, into a world in which philosophical and even theological vocabularies would be emptied of the assured and certain meaning that the authorities had guaranteed for them. It was this that the scholastics most feared. Descartes's initial claims, as they understood them, that all knowledge had to proceed from 'clear and simple' ideas might not be, as the Spanish Cartesians who were eager to avoid total censure would sometimes argue, so very different from the Thomist claim that all the strategies by which we arrive at any knowledge of what is right or wrong in human behaviour derive from the rational mind operating upon the prima praecepta of the law of nature. But for the scholastic the accuracy of whatever deductions the rational mind might make depends for verification upon the consensus and that could only be registered in a restricted Holy Fathers and the famous doctors of body of texts-'the in the normative practices of the Christian community. Whereas for antiquity'-and Descartes, of course, the certainty of the conclusions of science could only be evaluated from a position of extreme epistemological scepticism. Even Feijoo, who firmly believed that it was possible to be a Cartesian and a good Christian, could never come to accept the cogito since, as he rightly pointed out, faith 'forbids, even For the scholastics, for a brief minute, any act of doubt concerning revealed truth'."17 then, the struggle between the old and the new philosophies was immediately translated out of a discussion over method, which is where the Cartesians wished to locate it, into a discussion over the status of certain authorities, most prominently Aristotle. For many of the Spanish opponents of Cartesianism, indeed, the New Philosophy could be characterized simply, if polemically, as anti-Aristotelianism and hence potentially, at least, heretical or atheistic. As the doctor Diego Mateo Zapata 'Aristotle has achieved such whom I shall return-remarked, (1664-1745)-to status in Spain that anyone who abandons the maxims and sentences of this oracle is held to have lost all reason and judgment'.'18

15 Philosophia sc~iptica extracta de la physica antigua y moderna recopilada en didlogo entre un Aristotelico, Cartesiano, Gassendisto y Sctptico para la instrucci6n de la curiosidad Espaitola, Seville 1730, p. 297. Martinez was also a member of the Regia Sociedad de Medicina; see pp. 131-133 below.

16 Najera (as in n. 10), p. 2. 17 B.J. Feijoo, Teatro critico universal, Ii, Madrid 1777, p. 20. 18 Ocaso de las formas aristotelicas que pretendio ilustrar a la luz de la raz6n el D. Juan Martin de Lessaca. Obra postuma delDoctorDiego Matteo Zapata, i, Madrid 1745, fol. 3v.

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There were, however, other more immediately substantive arguments over which anyone who could claim to be a 'New Philosopher' diverged widely from the Aristotelians. The principal of these, and it became perhaps the crucial issue in the late seventeenth century, was the challenge which Cartesian physics and Gassendian atomism, with which it was closely associated and frequently confused, offered to the possibility of belief in transubstantiation. 'Our Spanish Aristotelians', wrote Feijoo with mingled irritation and despair, 'know nothing of this philosopher save that he denies the existence of accidents' and that his physics, as well as his epistemology, is therefore 'incompatible with what the Faith teaches us about the sacrament of the Eucharist'.19 Not surprisingly, it was this issue which dominated much of the New Philosophers' attempts to defend their thinking from accusations of heresy. By the middle of the seventeenth century the doctrine of the Eucharist had become the Church. But a belief in central article of faith in the Counter-Reformation relied upon a belief in the Aristotelian distinction between transubstantiation essences. The consecrated wafer accidents-taste, touch, smell, for example-and which the supplicant eats has all the properties of Christ's flesh, real and substantial, but the accidents are clearly those of flour and water. Both Cartesian physics and atomism denied the existence of sense qualities or real accidents. Accidents are merely effects produced upon the senses by external objects and cannot be separated from them. If it is bread I appear to be eating, then it must be bread-or some substance which resembles bread-which I am eating. It is certainly not human flesh. More difficult still, it is clearly impossible under this account to accept the existence of a substance whose externals remain unchanging, but whose properties may be radically transformed. Both Descartes himself and Galileo, whose

II Saggiatore was a predominantly atomistic treatise, had run into difficulties with the

theologians on this point.2" Descartes, in an attempt to save the phenomenon of transubstantiation, argued that since sensation depends upon contact between the single particles of a body and the particles which surround it, there was no reason why the resemblance of bread should not remain unchanged during the miracle since this was restricted to what he called the 'superficies' of the Eucharist. 'Christ at the moment of transubstantiation', he claimed, 'is contained within these in of not the sense superficies, proper being in a place but sacramentally and with that form of existence which, though we have difficulty in expressing it in words, yet when our thought is illuminated by faith we can still believe to be possible by God and ought always firmly so to believe'."21 This convinced few of Descartes's opponents. By shifting the language of explanation from physics to theology and back again, seeming to deny the co-extension of time and space, and finally
19 Feijoo (as in n. 17), II, pp. 17, 20. 20 See Pietro Redondi, Galileo eretico, Turin 1983, who claims that it was his atomism rather than his support of the heliocentric theory which led to Galileo's condemnation. 21 'Reply to the fourth set of objections [to the First Meditations]', in The Philosophical Works of Descartes, eds

E. S. Haldane and G. R. T. Ross, II, Cambridge 1970, pp. 118-122. The best account of the debate is in J.-R. Armogathe, Theologia cartesiana, I'explication physique de l'Eucharestie chez DESCARTES et dom DESGABETS, The Hague 1977.

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referring the whole problem to a definition of the sacramental, it appeared to most churchmen to be a thinly disguised attempt to smuggle in an anagogical explanation for what the Church firmly maintained was a physical reality. It was also, as Mersenne had warned Descartes in 1642, uncomfortably close to some of Wyclif's observations on the nature of the Eucharist.22 In the end anything other than total acceptance of the Church's ruling on the matter was bound to fail. If Descartes himself had escaped condemnation of the kind handed out to Galileo, he was nevertheless unable to prevent his works from appearing on the Index in 1663. Spaniards who found some kind of synthesis between Cartesianism and atomism attractive were pushed to even further limits of absurdity in their attempts to avert the charge of heresy. One of the earliest, Luis Alderete y Soto, went so far as to posit the existence of two distinct worlds, apparently identical in every detail, except that one is built of atoms, the other, of a 'spiritual substance'. Man lives out his daily existence in the first material and atomistic world. But from the moment he takes the Eucharist until the moment his stomach begins to digest the atoms of which the material substance of the bread is composed, he passes over into the second world.23 This was not a widely discussed solution of the problem. III

The first self-declared 'New Philosophers' in Spain were a group of provincial doctors who, in the closing years of the seventeenth century, met in Seville in the to the King, to form a socihouse of the doctor Julio Muiioz Pirez, medico de cadmara ety whose purpose was 'to practise experimental philosophy to which end they availed themselves of the best authors acquired by their personal diligence through the medium of many foreign enthusiasts (aficionados)'.24 Seville was still, despite the collapse of the American trade in the second half of the seventeenth century, the richest mercantile city in Spain. Descartes's views on causation, his experiments in sensation, his writings on psychology all had far-reaching medical implications. Doctors could also find patrons outside the university system and, if they were successful, those patrons were likely to protect them whatever their views. The Spanish nobility, like the nobility everywhere, wished to be cured of its diseases. If a doctor could achieve that, or apparently do so, then he could be confident of finding some measure of support in his struggle both with the theologians and with the academic doctors who could cure no-one. The aims of the new society were explicitly to study all forms of experimental science to-as its most vocal champion the admirable secrets of the Great Book of Nature Mateo Zapata declared-'unravel with repeated experiments in Philosophy, Medicine, Chemistry and Anatomy, and with the prospect of discovering specific remedies'.25 The project was to rejuvenate
22 Redondi
23

(as in n. 20), p. 359.


de la verdad ilustrada con divinas y humanas

Crisola

letras, Padres y Doctores de la Iglesia, Madrid 1683, pp. 11, 21. 24 Quoted in Francisco de las Barras de Aragon, 'La regia sociedad de medicina y ciencias de Sevilla y el

doctor Cervi', Boletin de la Universidad de Madrid, II, 1930, p. 355. 25 Diego Mateo Zapata, Papeles vadnos,Seville University no. 33, address to the Regia SociLibrary, MS 111-12-3 edad delivered on 30 June 1701, fol. 2r. Zapata had not, however, always been a supporter of the New Philo-

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the sciences which had been reduced to the tired repetition of scholastic jargon, and this was to be achieved through the application of Baconian empiricism. The human body, declared Zapata, is 'an admirable artificial machine' whose structure and function could only be understood by the application of covering laws arrived at by induction.26 The (as he phrased it) 'metaphysical study' on which the members of the medical faculties of the Spanish university spent their time, the 'idolatry of the ancient and uncertain opinion based on the four humours, elements, qualities', was not only worthless; it had 'sterilized medicine' and 'perturbed and perverted medical practice'."27 The society's immediate success was considerable. Its members corresponded with their colleagues in the Acad~mie des Sciences and the Royal Society, with members of the court, and even with some of the more progressive university professors. Its presence and its declared ambitions also aroused the immediate hostility of the medical faculty of the University of Seville which demanded that the Crown put an end to these dangerous proceedings. The now ailing half-mad Charles II duly consulted the Council of Castile and his own medical advisers. The court physicians, the royal protomedicato, were evidently sympathetic to the aims of the society and they advised the Crown to recognize rather than forbid it. On 25 May 1700, shortly before his death, Charles elevated this provincial salon into a royal society, the Regia Sociedad de Medicina.28 On 8 June the now angry and incredulous Sevillian Galenists wrote to the University of Osuna asking for support against 'the introduction into this city of a society or salon intent on teaching modern doctrines composed of Cartesians, paraphysicians and others, Dutchmen and Englishmen whose aim seems to be to destroy the fame of Aristotle so highly regarded in the Roman Catholic Schools, and also to degrade the teachings of Hippocrates and Galen which are current in all universities.' The influence of the society, they went on, had already spread to C6rdoba, Madrid and other places, while the Royal Council remained deaf to the warnings of the righteous about 'the grave dangers that will result to the commonweal and the universities, especially in matters of religion' from the introduction of doctrines which had long ago been condemned as heretical but which had now sprung up again 'in the guise of the New Philosophy and medicine'.29 As Zapata observed, this response was typical of those who condemn things 'only because they are not ancient, thus making idolatry out of what is only opinion'."3 In its insistence that the New Philosophy was not so much new philosophy as old familiar heresy, it was typical too of the Church's response to any threatened disturbance of the intellectual consensus. Josi Francisco de Isla's satire on scholastic reaction caught the hysterical tone of many of the opponents of the New Philosophy. 'Heretics, Atheists and Jews, all of them, like Newton, who was the most terrible Great Heretic, Descartes who, at least as regards animals, was a Materialist, Leibniz-God knows what he was-Galileo Galilei, who from his name must be the
sophy. In 1691 Luis Spinardo, another doctor, wrote a tract entitled La nueva medicina triunfante ... para confusion de los ruines apologistas y de Don Diego Matteo Zapata (Valencia) which, in addition to describing Zapata as a 'capon' and therefore better suited to music than medicine, accuses him of being the author of a 'rationalist' defence of Galen which, in Spinardo's view, was neither rationalist nor Galenic.

ibid., fols 35r-36v. ibid., fol. 34r. Las Barras de Aragon (as in n. 24), p. 357. The letter is printed in full in Cefial (as in n. 13), pp. 34-5. 30 Zapata (as in n. 25), fol. 3v.

26 27 28 29

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arch-Jew or Proto-Hebrew and others whose very names fill one with horror'.31 In the eyes of even the most sober, scholastic Cartesian physics had banished transubstantiation to, at best, the realm of the sacramental, and Cartesian scepticism had provided the grounding for both Jansenism and Molinism.32 As Zapata and his colleagues recognized, charges of heresy were the most damaging of all, and if the New Philosophy was to survive they had to be able to answer them. One strategy, which Ficino and Erasmus had used in their attempts to legitimate Platonic moral philosophy, was to shift attention from the substance of the arguments to the status of the person holding them. Just as for the humanists Socrates had become a secular saint, so for the New Philosophers did Descartes. His ideas, claimed Zapata, must be orthodox since the man who created them had himself led such an exemplary life. 'In his humility, modesty, ardent zeal for the purity of the faith, obedience to the Holy See, in his prayers and observation of divine precepts and the frequency with which he took the sacraments Descartes led an almost blameless life'.33 But such arguments failed to persuade. The Churchmen and the Aristotelians were fully aware that what was at issue was not the spiritual and moral integrity of a single individual, but an entire method of describing the world. Even those among the professors and the churchmen who were prepared to listen to the arguments of the New Philosophers, to the point of being persuaded by them, frequently drew back from accepting the consequences which followed from such arguments because, as the Carmelite Domingo de Santa Teresa observed, no matter what their substance, they had been refuted a priori 'by the authority of Aristotle and St Thomas and Scotus, and all the other doctors and theologians who thought the contrary'.34 But because of its connections with the court, and the apparent success of its survives to this day medical tactics, the Regia Sociedad survived these attacks-and as the Real Academia de Medicina. It was the first real academy in Spain, a clear refutation, as Zapata observed, of the remark made by the Neapolitan botanist Marcello Malpighi that of all the races of Europe only the Spaniards, the Portuguese and the Muscovites were incapable of establishing learned academies.35 It was also characterized from the start, as its enemies rightly observed, by its association with foreign scholars and foreign institutions. It modelled itself on the Acadimie des Sciences and the Royal Society and purchased books from both of these bodies. It was, as the Memorias written in 1765 proclaimed, a self-conscious part of a movement of ideas which had been born in the wake of those intellectual upheavals of the late seventeenth century when 'it seemed as if some superior influence moved all those spirits who were lovers of humanity so that they might co-operate for its greater group. There were, in benefit'.36 Its founder members were a heterogeneous addition to Zapata and Julio Mufioz Peralta, a number of Frenchmen and, as the University of Seville had complained, one Dutchman and one Englishman (though
31 Los Aldeanos criticos o cartas criticas sobre lo que se vera, Madrid 1759, p. 55. 32 Diario de los literatos de Espania, Madrid 1740, vI, p. on Juan de Najera's Desengailos 69, commenting philos6phicos (see p. 136 below). 33 'Alexandro de Avendailo', Didlogos philos6phicos en defensa del atomismo y repuesta a las impugnaciones aristotelicas del R. P M. Francisco Palanco, Madrid 1716, p. 7. See p. 136 below. 34 Quoted in Cefial (as in n. 13), p. 27. 35 Zapata (as in n. 25), fol. 1r; repeated in Ocaso de las formas aristotlicas (as in n. 18), pp. 150-2. 36 Memorias acadimicas de la Real Sociedad de Medicina y demas Ciencias de Sevilla, I, Seville 1765, fol. 2r

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these must surely have been corresponding members). There was also at least one Boix-described as 'a sometime professor renegade from the universitiese-Miguel of Alcali', which suggests that the society had from the beginning a base outside Andalusia. There was even a canon of the Cathedral of C6rdoba and two familiares of the Inquisition.37 The society's composition and its overt claim to be a European institution with supra-national aspirations made it even more suspicious in the eyes of the schoolmen. As the complaints of the University of Seville had implied, all things of foreign origin were suspected of 'novelty'. And, for most Spaniards, novelty implied instability, principally the instability associated both with religious dissent and with unacceptable political ideologies, ideologies which privileged either communitarian views (Locke), individual rationalism (Hobbes), or republicanism (Machiavelli).38 Educated Spaniards were very much aware of the degree of cultural isolation to which this attitude subjected them. As early as 1687 the doctor and chemist Juan de Cabriada had complained that 'it is a sad and shameful thing that, just as if we were Indians, we are the last to hear about the discoveries and enlightenment (noticias y luces) which are spreading throughout Europe'.39 'What', asked Gaspar de Jovellanos as late as 1795, of the Church's continued attempts to stop the import of foreign texts, 'will the coming generation say which despite the despotism and the ignorance which afflict them will be more enlightened, freer and happier than this one?'40 But within the court and some of the noble households things in the early eighteenth century were beginning to change. Diego Zapata was the personal physician to Cardinals Borja and Portocarrero. The former was a keen admirer of French culture and had been a prominent member of the faction supporting the Bourbon claim to the Spanish throne. In the closing years of Habsburg rule in Spain an increasing number of powerful individuals, known somewhat contemptuously by more conservative and patriotic Spaniards as los afrancesados, had come to believe that the only way to rejuvenate Spanish intellectual life-and with it her former political power and economic prosperity-was the importation of French cultural and political ideologies and ultimately French political institutions, a view shared by some, at least, in Spain's Italian possession.41 The men who helped to place a French king on the Spanish throne could also be relied upon to support the introduction of new-or at least not so very old-ideas from France.42 After the accession of Philip V the Regia Sociedad, although it retained its base in Seville, became in effect a dependency of the court with affiliations all over

37 Las Barras de Aragon (as in n. 24), p. 358. 38 A similar cultural insularity also prevailed in Spain's Italian dominions. To one such as the Neapolitan chronicler Innocenzo Fuidoro the opponents of Galen seemed to be merely 'Alchemists or Calvinists' and their views 'as false as heresy'. Similarly French and English travellers to Naples complained that the libraries there, like the libraries in Spain, contained only books on See Giuseppe Galasso, theology and jurisprudence. Napoli spagnola dopo Masaniello, I, Florence 1982, p. 108. 39 Quoted by Emilio Balaguer Periguell, 'Ciencia e ilustraci6n: la incorporaci6n de Espafia en la revoluci6n scientifica', in La ilustraci6n espailola. Actas del coloquio

celebrado en Alicante 1-4 octobre 1985, eds A. Alberola and E. La Parra, Alicante 1986, p. 15. 40 Gaspar Melchor de Jovellanos, Diarios, ed. Julio Somoza, II, Oviedo 1954, p. 149. 41 See Corrado Dollo, Modelli scientifici e filosofici nella Sicilia spagnola, Naples 1984, p. 228. The Sicilians and the Neapolitans, at least after 1712, looked of course to Austria rather than France. See Anthony Pagden, 'The destruction of Truth, the case of eighteenth-century Naples', in Trust. The making and breaking of co-operative relations, ed. Diego Gambetta, Oxford 1988. 42 Las Barras de Aragon (as in n. 24), pp. 361-5.

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Spain, and offered an alternative focus for scientific culture. Like the academies of Naples and Sicily and the more fashionable salons (the tertulias) of early eighteenthcentury Madrid, the Real Sociedad provided a refuge for the New Philosophers from the hatred of the university faculties and the religious orders. But that refuge could be a precarious one. Diego Zapata, one of the founder members of the society, personal physician not only to Borja and Portocarrero but also to the Duke of Medinaceli, was condemned by the Inquisition in 1725 (when he was 59) for being a crypto-Jew and banished from Madrid.43 His patrons seem to have been unable or unwilling to do anything to help him and he was replaced in the Duke's service by a common Galenic quack named Manuel de Robles. Zapata's fate indicates the social precariousness of the opposition to the old learning. But Zapata claims our attention for another reason. Not only was he a founder and one of the most prolific members of the Regia Sociedad, he was also the creator of an eclectic programme which comes closer than any other text to being an account of the enterprise on which the New Philosophers were engaged. Zapata's objective was to find an accepted place within the old Aristotelian academic structure for Cartesian metaphysics and Gassendist physics. The inspiration for this synthesis came from the work of Emmanuel Maignan, a French Minim friar who, though largely unknown today, was considered by Bayle to be the greatest philosopher of the age.44 Maignan's Cursus philosophicus (first printed in Toulouse in made its heterodoxy less 1673) was cast in the form of a textbook-which was an attempt to reconcile Descartes on mind and self with an obvious-and Aristotelian epistemology.45 Maignan's method, like Descartes's own, proceeded from clear and simple ideas (on the basis of which he claimed to have demonstrated the falsity of most Cartesian physics) but they carefully skirted any discussion of the necessary extent of Cartesian scepticism. His physics, like Gassendi's, were predominantly atomistic and he condemned the scholastics for confusing logical and metaphysical propositions with physical ones. The debate over the nature of the Eucharist relied, he claimed, on a distinction between accident and substance which was merely illusory, merely voces sine re. The bread and wine, he argued, are sensible accidents, non ut quod, sed ut quo; that is, they are objects expressly created by God (out of a material substance) ad occultandum mysterium of the communicant. The relationship between them was analogous to the relationship between what he called color in primo actu, which is identical with its substance, and color in actu secundo, where the accident produced by the reflection of the light remains (by God's will) although the substance itself has, in fact, been transformed.46 This was later dismissed by Jacob Brucker47 as a thesis unworthy of any philosopher, and rejected by the scholastics as little better than Descartes's own solution.48 But it seemed to the Spanish New Philosophers at least to offer an acceptable
43 The records of the trial are in Biblioteca Nacional, Madrid, MS 10.938, fols 173ff., and see Cefial (as in n. 13), p. 75. 44 On Maignan see P. J. S. Whitmore, The Order of Minims in Seventeenth-Century France, The Hague 1967, 46 Cursus philosophicus, Louvain 1673, pp. 583-90. 47 Jacob Brucker, Historia critica philosophiae, Iv, Leipzig 1766, p. 585. 48 The Jesuit Theophile Raynaud, for instance, pointed out that Maignan's implicit analogy with colour would not work since the accidents of colour were themselves a species of colour. Theologia eucharistica, in Opera omnia, vI, Lyons 1665, pp. 147-8.

pp. 163-186. SJ. S. Spink, French Free-Thoughtfrom Gassendi to


Voltaire, London 1960, p. 77.

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compromise.49 'I am neither a Cartesian nor a Gassendist', claimed Zapata, 'I am a


Maignanist'.so5

Zapata's own attempt to exploit Maignan came in the form of an attack on the work of another Minim, Francisco de Palanco. Palanco was one of the New Philosophy's most ardent opponents and certainly its most articulate. His Dialogus physicotheologicus contra philosophiae novatores sive Thomista contra Atomista, published in 1714, is the first wholly systematic, if not wholly original, Spanish attempt to refute Cartesian methodology and Cartesian epistemology. Zapata had met and debated with Palanco in the Madrid home of the Conde de Salvatierra.51 But his most detailed refutation is to be found in his censura of the work of Juan de Avendaijo, pseudonym for another Minim, Juan de Najera, entitled Didlogos philosdphicos en defensa del atomismo and written in 1716. Zapata's censura provided a broad programmatic outline for the New Philosophy. It would, he said, follow the prescriptions provided in Maignan's Cursus, its methodology would be Cartesian and its psychology dualist; but its physics was to be atomistic and would remain obedient to the Church on all matters of theology and ethics. Such a programme would, Zapata admitted, leave very little of the Aristotelian structure standing. But in calling the atomists 'novatores', Palanco had missed the point, since everyone in Spain knew that innovation and novelty were merely alternative descriptions of heresy. Not only were the atomists not in any sense heretics, they were in a position to provide the Church with a new and more compelling set of arguments for the enduring truths of the Christian religion than any derived from a now discredited pagan philosopher. Furthermore, he argued, Palanco's attack worked with the assumption that the New Philosophers were, like the schoolmen, faithful adherents of a single doctrine. They were not. 'There is', he wrote, 'hardly a single Cartesian who follows Rena in, for instance, identifying matter with space, there is, in a word, hardly a single Cartesian who does not depart from his master on innumerable issues'. His was a new eclecticism. 'We seek the truth', he concluded, 'freely and dispassionately in whichever philosopher we may find it, to do otherwise would be foolish and unworthy of a philosopher'.52 Zapata's writings seem to have enjoyed a considerable popularity. They were not only new and linked to far-reaching claims to medical efficacy, they were also written in the vernacular, in a form and style which made them far more accessible than anything the scholastics could or chose to produce. Their audience was, however, largely confined to the academy and to the drawing-rooms of the more enlightened members of the nobility. For just as Cartesianism itself had had a salon existence in Paris under the aegis of Sylvan Regis in the latter part of the seventeenth century, so it became a subject for fashionable debate in some of the more advanced tertulias in Madrid in the early eighteenth century.

in Spain see Manuel 49 On Maignan's reception Mindan, 'Las corrientes filos6ficas en la Espafia del siglo XVIII', Revista defilosofia, xvIII, 1959, pp.471-488. 50 Quoted in P. Ramon Cefial, 'Emmanuel Maignan: su vida, su obra, su influencia', Revista de estudios politicos, XLV, 1952, pp. 111-149, at p. 142.

51 'Avendailo' (as in n. 33), pp. 57, ship of the Didlogos see Ceiial (as Zapata's censura occupies the first book. 52 Ocaso de lasformas aristotilicas (as 376.

62. On the authorin n. 13), p. 70. 146 pages of the in n. 18), pp. 369,

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Zapata's project was, however, taken up at a more formal academic level by the Valencian mathematician, Tomas Vicente Tosca (1651-1723). His Compendiumphilosophiae of 172153 is the first work by a Spaniard to achieve some kind of original synthesis based upon broadly Cartesian principles. Like both Zapata and Najera, Tosca attacked traditional scholasticism for its dependence upon authorities, its reliance upon texts and its attempts to describe natural phenomena by means of abstract principles, unverified by either observation or experiment. Tosca was a university professor and an Oratorian but his work was not untypical of a group who, as the great Valencian polymath Gregorio Mayans y Siscar claimed, had shown that Valencia was the university where the sciences had 'flourished most in the Spain of this century'.54 But in Valencia the incentive to release science from 'the thorns of scholasticism'55 came very largely from within the traditional centres of learning. Rather than seeing the accession of a Bourbon as potential for intellectual revival, the Valencians and the Catalonians saw only a threat to their cherished and hardtried local liberties and to their local culture. Instead of the conflict between the academies and the universities which had characterized the fortunes of the Real Academia in Castile, in Valencia and Catalonia, both the academies and the university were prepared to collaborate upon a common scientific project.56 It was, for instance, the university professors who very largely made up the salon of Jose Castelvi Coloma Aragon y Borja, Marquis of Villatorcas. Villatorcas was the most powerful of the patrons of the New Philosophy. His library contained over seven thousand printed books and manuscripts which included a volume of Spanish translations of the proceedings of the various academies in Paris.'57 Tosca's contemporary, the mathematician Juan Bautista Corachan (1661-1741),58 was the author of a work entitled Avisos de Parnaso (1690) which was claimed to have 'exceeded Boccalini in its inventiveness',59 the eulogy of an eclectic collection of figures which included not only Descartes and Boyle but also the Jesuits Clavius and Kircher.6o Corachin also produced the Rudimentos filosdficos, a handbook on philosophical method, and he even attempted to provide a Spanish translation of the Discours although he never seems to have got beyond page two. Corachan's method, like Zapata's, was formally Cartesian. Argument, he claimed, could only proceed from clear and distinct ideas, 'for when the ideas are clear and distinct, things may be properly known and intellect cannot err except by precipitation, voluntary affectation or by some other accident'. Like Zapata's, his programme for
53 A second edition edited by Gregorio Mayans appeared in 1754. See J. Ma. L6pez Pinero, La introducci6n de la ciencia moderna en Espaia, Barcelona 1969, pp. 144-55 and Victor Navarro Brotans, 'El compendium philosophicum (1721) de Tosca y la introducci6n en Espafia de la ciencia y la filosofia modernas', in Alberola and La Parra (as in n. 39), pp. 51-70. 54 In a paper on the chairs of grammar at the university, Mayans singles out both Tosca and Corachain (for whom see below) as the leaders in philosophy, mathematics and theology. Epistolario, IV Mayans a Nebot (1735-1742), ed. Mariano Peset, Valencia 1975, pp. 92-3. 55 The phrase is that of Juan Andres, a Valencian exJesuit exile in Italy. 'Dell'origine, progressi e stato attuale d'ogni letteratura', Parma 1782. Quoted by Franco
Venturi, Settecento riformatore, Iv, Turin 1984, p. 274 and on Andres pp. 266-75. 56 In general see Antonio Mestre, El mundo intelectual de Mayans, Valencia 1978. 57 Cefial (as in n. 13), p. 52. 58 See V. Navarro Brotans, 'La renovaci6n de las ciencias fisico-matemiticas en la Valencia preilustrada', Asclepio, xxIv, 1972, pp. 379-89. 59 By Asensio Sales, Oraci6n a la divina sabiduria patrona de la Academia Valenciana, Valencia 1746, p. 12. 60 It was not published, however, until 1747 and then, significantly enough, by Mayans at the expense of the Academia Valenciana. Corachin, like Mayans, was also the author of a hagiographical life of St Francis de Paul which prompted the young Mayans to write three saints' lives.

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the new learning was highly eclectic. 'I have attempted', he wrote, 'to follow the best-known views, adhering neither to the Thomist position nor to the Suarist, so that all may equally perceive the fruits of Philosophy without being troubled by the passions which are commonly aroused when any one opinion is followed with too much enthusiasm'.61 Like Zapata, he too hoped to win over the Church by creating a new theology which would, he claimed, be more secure in its demonstrations than Thomism had been. The vehicle for all this, which seems to have started life as a course of instruction for the son of a local nobleman, the Count of Parsent, was to be an academy, 'a copy of the Academy of the Nations',62 which would teach theology, medicine and mathematics according to the new methods. Corachin never got his academy; and his attempts, together with those of Tosca and their contemporaries, men such as Felix Falco de Belaochaga and Baltasar Iiigo, to attract a wider audience for Cartesian methodology ultimately failed. Something of the project survived, however, in the Academia Valenciana founded in the 1740s by Gregorio Mayans, the biographer of Luis Vives and editor of the first complete edition of his works. Although Mayans's purpose was precisely to revive Vives's humanistic educational programme, his Academy owed much to Corachin's inspiration, and the substance of the Avisos and the Rudimentos (both of which he had had published) integrated into the didactic programme of the Academia Valenciana.63 The relative success of the New Philosophy in Valencia and Catalonia was, however, circumscribed by traditional theological anxieties. Even Mayans, despite his ambition to rejuvenate the sciences from philology to physics, remained partially bound by the older scholasticism, especially when confronted with the the works of those who, in the orthodox mind, were Descartes's true progeny, Montesquieu ('more diabolical than Machiavelli') and Voltaire ('one of the greatest atheists alive today'). Even Muratori's Filosofia morale, which Mayans had once thought to be 'incomparable of its kind' and which he had even begun to translate into Spanish, was, he finally decided, too dangerous.64 The initial impetus provided by the New Philosophy seems to have diminished considerably by the mid-eighteenth century. Mayans's uncertainty and caution was shared even by Feijoo who was the movement's (if it can be called a movement) most outspoken and articulate champion. Descartes, he said, 'was possessed of a sublime genius, prodigious inventiveness, magnanimous resolve, extraordinary subtlety ... but his energy overcame his temerity. He conceived projects that were too grand and his attacks upon received doctrine knew no bounds. From this there followed opinions which philosophy looks upon with wonder and religion with distrust'65 By this time, however, those opinions had ceased to be much of a threat to either. As the Diario de los literatos noted in 1740, 'in Spain there is no need to refute Descartes or any other systematic philosopher for you will not find two
61 Avisos de Parnaso, Valencia 1747, pp. 136, 153. 62 In a letter to Petrei, of the French professor mathematics at the Colegio Imperial in Madrid, quoted by Cefial (as in n. 13), p. 54. 63 See, in particular, the claims set out in Oraci6n que exhorta a seguir la verdadera idea de la eloquencia espariola, Valencia 1727, pp. 6-8.

64 Quoted by Venturi (as in n. 55), Iv, p. 268. 65 Cartaseruditas(as in n. 1), II, no. 16, p. 221.

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people who have read his philosophy'. And, Feijoo went on, 'all those who talk of the philosophy of Descartes know it only through the new courses in peripatetic philosophy'.66 If this was so, their readers must have come away with a very curious notion of what Cartesianism was. Here, for instance, is how Luis de Losada, the Jesuit author of one of the most widely read course books, the Cursus philosophicus regalis collegi Salamanticensis of 1730, glossed his countryman's view of the New Philosophy: 'Spaniards who hold religion most dear are commonly averse to ... and frequently call it lay philosophy, illiterate and Cartesian philosophy effeminate philosophy, or, in the speech of the vulgar, cloak and dagger philosophy, drawing-room philosophy'.'67 The charge of heterodoxy, fashionableness, the wish to castigate all modes of secular reasoning as corrupting ('effeminate') and hardly to be distinguished for the reader from popular romances, resonates throughout the campaign against the New Philosophy. It was not, however, as so many contemporaries and modern historians have claimed, merelythe presence of the Inquisition, nor the religious bigotry latent even in the otherwise enlightened Charles III, which ultimately prevented the New Philosophy and later the Enlightenment from having any significant or lasting impact on Spanish (or Portuguese) intellectual life. It was the continuing presence of an institutionalized and once powerful intellectual tradition. The New Philosophy threatened natural-law theory and made the authorized account of the physics of transubstantiation unworkable. It could not easily, as could Copernicanism, be accommodated by some judicious pruning of the existing paradigms. And the very principles upon which it was based, even though they ultimately provided a refutation of scepticism, did so only by first accepting the possibility of doubt. No neo-Thomist could accept the wishes of both Descartes and his followers to detach theology from epistemology and natural science. As even Feijoo made clear, to the orthodox any such ambition was like accepting the explanation of a navigator whose ship is off course that he was 'guiding himself by the sea not the heavens'. The natural philosopher 'must not lose sight of faith any more than the navigator can ever ignore the position of the pole star'.68 The language of scholasticism, the certainty of argument from authority, the centrality of matters of faith to philosophical and scientific discussions of any kind, all survived into the early nineteenth century. When in the latter part of the eighteenth century Cartesianism and atomism-the twin theoretical components of the New Philosophy-were themselves undermined by Lockean psychology and Newtonian physics, Spanish neo-Thomists met this new challenge to their beliefs in real essences and secondary causes in the same terms. Locke and Newton were (indubitably) heretics. Their philosophies were therefore false. Spain never experienced a 'scientific revolution' or, as we have seen, anything under such a description. The only which could plausibly be accommodated 'modern' science to achieve any degree of intellectual uptake (and that only at the very end of the eighteenth century) was political economy. Men like Jovellanos and Campomanes may have made little lasting contribution to economic theory. But they were highly thought of in their own lifetimes and their beliefs, if not their
66 Feijoo (as in n. 17), vi, pp. 76-7. 67 Quoted by Cefial (as in n. 13), p. 79. 68 Teatro critico(as in n. 17), i, p. 26.

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policies, met with no sustained or coherent objection. As the work of Istvan Hont and others has shown, however, political economy owed a very considerable debt to natural jurisprudence, and if Smith's debt was to Grotius and Puffendorf, it was equally clear that Campomanes and Jovellanos owed theirs to Suirez. But this was probably the one area in which the traditional discourses could be satisfactorily translated into a recognizably modern idiom.69 In all other areas of learning the power and direction of the older methods of as they were by a powerful central state which drew much of explanation-sustained its stability and its legitimacy from a Church which, in one way or another, was in retreat all over Europe -ultimately made any long-term compromise with the new As of the author the article on scholastic philosophy in the Encyclopidie impossible. the of caustically observed, study philosophy in Spain and Portugal was 'still in the same condition as it was among us between the twelfth and sixteenth centuries. The professors swear to teach nothing new and take every precaution they can against enlightenment. It is impossible to read without pain and astonishment, in one of the learned journals for 1752, the title of a book recently published in Lisbon-in the middle of the eighteenth century! -Systema aristotelicum de formis substantialibus etc. cum dissertatione de accidentibus, Lisbon 1750, which one is tempted to think must be a misprint for 1550'.70 His pain and astonishment would have been deepened still further by the Plan de estudios drawn up by the University of Salamanca in 1771 which declared: 'We cannot separate ourselves from the peripatetic system... The modern philosophies are not adapted to the ends which the study [of arts] is intended to obtain... The systems of Gassendi and Descartes do not resemble revealed truth so much as that of Aristotle.... Even when we disregard this obstacle, which is alone sufficient to exclude such principles from Catholic classrooms, we find that these systems function upon voluntary principles from which are deduced voluntary and unconvincing conclusions'.7' It was ajudgement upon the intellectual life of the nation.
KING'S COLLEGE, CAMBRIDGE

69 Hont and Ignatieff (as in n. 11). The indebtedness to the Spanish of the Spanish political economists natural-law tradition has yet to be explored, but see nota sul Conde di Girolamo 'Qualche Imbruglia, Rivista storica italiana, xclv, 1982, pp. Campomanes', 204-226.

70 Encyclopidie ou dictionnaire raisonni des sciences, des arts et des metiers, Paris 1755, v, p. 304. 71 Plan de estudios dirigida a la universidad de Salamanca printed in G. Addy, The Enlightenment in the University of Salamanca, Durham N.C. 1966, p. 252.

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