The Changing Shapes of Knowledge in Spain 1627–1726: From Dreams and Discourses to Universal Critical Theater
AbstractThis article illustrates the changing shapes of knowledge in Spain in the period spanning from the Baroque (ca. 1600–1680) to the pre-Enlightenment (ca. 1730). Scepticism and the dichotomies engaño – desengaño (illusion – disillusion) and ser – parecer (reality – appearances) were at the heart of the Baroque obsession with the foundations of knowledge, which culminated in an epistemological crisis. In the pre-Enlightenment, epistemological preoccupations were directed towards error instead of desengaño, notably in the writings of the Benedictine monk Benito Jerónimo Feijoo (1676–1764), who was a key figure in the divulgation of the ‘new science’ and ‘new philosophy’ in Spain. The epistemic value of the concept desengaño is examined here by contrasting Feijoo’s essay on philosophical scepticism in his Teatro Crítico Universal. Discursos varios en todo género de materias, para desengaño de errores comunes (Universal Critical Theater. Varied discourses on all kinds of matters to the disillusion of common errors, 1726–1739) with the use of scepticism in the Baroque author Francisco de Quevedo’s Sueños y discursos de verdades descubridoras de abusos, vicios y engaños, en todos los oficios y estados del mundo (Dreams and discourses on truths revealing abuses, vices and deceptions in all the professions and estates of the world) published a hundred years earlier (1627).
Since 2013, 1700-tal publishes all content online, currently with a one-year delay after the printed version is distributed.
Copyright on any content in 1700-tal is retained by the author(s).
Authors grant 1700-tal a license to publish their contributions in print and online or any other medium and to identify itself as the original publisher.
Authors give 1700-tal the right to distribute their contributions freely under a Creative Commons Attribution License. This implies that any third party has the right to use the contribution freely, provided that its original author(s), citation details and publisher are identified.
For more information on the Creative Commons Attribution License see https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
Authors have the right to self-archive their contribution in its final form (publisher’s PDF) as soon as the printed version has been distributed.