“For this type of fight, one should go out as a philosopher to the field to defend religion, because they are fighting philosophers.” Teodoro de Almeida, a Portuguese priest living at the end of the eighteenth century, expressed this maxim in his 1798 publication, The Harmony of Reason and Religion. His work discussed the promises of natural theology – an ambiguous theological enterprise which in eighteenth-century Iberia represented the overlapping interests of philosophy, theology, and natural philosophy. This presentation explores both the definition of the term “natural theology” and the use of natural theology as a genre in the context of eighteenth-century Iberia, with particular attention paid to the epistemological claims of natural theology and the formation of knowledge in the Iberian enlightenment. Understanding how natural theology functioned in Spain and Portugal helps to understand how scientific, philosophical, and theological knowledge engaged one another during the enlightenment, elucidating such historical phenomena as the development and legitimization of natural philosophy, secularization theory and the reification of the divide between science and theology, the shift of epistemic standards, evidentialism, and verificationism.
The Comparing Practices of Knowledge Workshop launched in the 2016-17 academic year. Presentations range across historical and disciplinary boundaries and provide a major component of SIFK's inquiry into the process of knowledge formation and transmittal from antiquity to present day. Research-in-progress is welcomed and will receive constructive feedback. Lunch will be provided to those who RSVP.