Conscience and Casuistry in Early Modern Europe

This examination of a fundamental but often neglected aspect of the intellectual history of early modern Europe brings together philosophers, historians and political theorists from Great Britain, Canada, the United States, Australia, France and Germany. Despite the diversity of disciplines and national traditions represented, the individual contributions show a remarkable convergence around three themes: changes in the modes of moral education in early modern Europe, the emergence of new relations between conscience and law (particularly the law of the state), and the shared continuities and discontinuities of both Roman Catholic and Protestant moral culture in relation to their medieval past.


'This collection is a demonstration of the value of the aims and methods advocated by the general editors of the series, 'Ideas in Context'. The examination of casuistry and its reputation, of associated ideas of conscience and of the theory and practice of moral education in the early modern period continually reveals connections between morality as a practical and public concern and more systematic and 'philosophical' ethical theory. The result is immensely stimulating and suggestive (not less so for the disagreements among contributors), and constitutes a challenge to philosophers to join with historians in pursuit of a more serious and professional history of ethics than is yet available.' M. R. Ayers, Wadham College, Oxford