The Maynooth Annual Aquinas Lecture 2019: Tolerance and Intolerance: Some Major Aspects of the Philosophy of Black Slavery in Latin American Scholasticism

Thursday, November 21, 2019 - 17:00 to 19:00
Room 2.31 (Iontas, Second Floor)


The normative debate on Black slavery done by early-modern scholastic thinkers, from the 16thcentury on, is still little known and investigated. In this lecture, I make the attempt of highlighting the role played by the Luis de Molina S.J. (1535–1600) and by the Peruvian Jesuit master Diego de Avendaño (1594–1688) in that conceptual history. The emphases in those debates were put on the justification of slavery, the legal aspects connected to slave trade and the several moral issues connected to the examination of conscience, i.e., the issues about the safe conscience of the agents involved in slave holding and slave trading. The philosophical structure of early-modern scholastic debates on slavery were very much based on Thomas Aquinas`s works and thought, especially on his account of right and justice in STIIaIIae q. 57-122. After highlighting and explaining this connections of ideas and texts, I will emphasize a central theoretical aspect for the correction of the injustice of slavery, which was remarkably developed in Iberian and Latin American scholasticism – also by Franciscan authors, such as Francisco José de Jaca O.F.M. Cap. (c.1645–1689) and Epifanio de Moirans O.F.M. Cap. (1644–1689), who relied on Aquinas’s expositions and the reception of it in 16th.-17th. Centuries –, that is: the theory of restitution.

Luis de Molina. Diego de Avendaño. Francisco José de Jaca. Epifanio de Moirans. Black Slavery. Freedom. Commutative Justice. Right Conscience. Restitution. Moral Probabilism. Ideology.

 Prof. Dr. Roberto Hofmeister Pich is Professor of Philosophy at Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio Grande do Sul.

Research: Since 2011 I am fully dedicated to the research project “Scholastica colonialis: Reception and Development of Baroque Scholasticism in Latin America in the Sixteenth to Eighteenth Centuries”, i.e., a project that launches a long-term, exhaustive investigation of the development of Baroque Scholastic philosophy in Latin America during the colonial period. It is an integrated project of international collaboration among several research groups in Brazil, Chile, Peru, Portugal, Spain, Germany, and other. The main purpose of the project is to write, under scientific basis, the history of philosophy (scholastic philosophy) in Latin America. For that purpose, the project aims at preparing inventories and catalogues of manuscripts and printed works that record colonial Scholastic thought, as well as careful analyses and editions of important authors and texts. 

Identity, Diversity & Values