Arbor et tabula oppositionum. Hyacinto Basilio Moran S.J.,Cursus philosophicus triennalis in Logicam, Physicam, et Metaphysicam Aristotelis tripartitus (1706), tr. 1, fol. 44r. Archivo Histórico Nacional del Ecuador, Quito.

Project (2021-2022)

Matter, Causation, and Experimental Knowledge in Early Modern Scholastic Natural Science from Colonial Chile and Ecuador

The writings of Latin American scholastic thinkers in the seventeenth and eighteenth century largely followed the structure of the cursus philosophicus—logic, natural philosophy, and metaphysics—imported from Salamanca and Alcalá. In their expositions on the philosophy of nature, which were profoundly inspired by Aristotle and his medieval commentators, physics increasingly took root in experimental aspects of science, resulting in a separation between “general” and “special” physics. This project investigates physics in colonial scholasticism through three sets of authors teaching physics. First, it discusses the work of Juan de Fuica (c. 1660 – ?), who taught in Santiago de Chile and was the author of a complete Scotist cursus philosophicus (1688–89). Second, it analyzes courses written by professors from Ecuador at the Jesuit Universidad de San Gregorio, which reveal a shift in the teaching of physics, from pure scholastic debates to explanations challenged by an experimental approach in the theory of knowledge. This shift is further pursued by investigating Ignatius Gil Castelvi’s Tractatus in universam Aristotelis dialecticam, amplectens physicam, et metaphysicam ad unum corpus redactus (1665) and Juan Bautista Aguirre’s Physica ad Aristotelis mentem (1758). The project aims to determine the extent to which these magistri incorporated experimental knowledge into their writings, and how their expertise in Aristotelian natural philosophy enabled or hindered that process.