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Interdisciplinary Encyclopedia


edited by G. Tanzella-Nitti, I. Colagè and A. Strumia - ISSN 2037-2329

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The Encyclopedia started on 2005 also thanks to a contribution by CTNS

Instructions for the reader

Most of these articles were written primarily by European authors and are available here for the first time in English. They offer a unique window into the approaches and perspectives of the European community toward what has become a field of immense cultural significance throughout the world. Each article provides a very readable and comprehensive summary of what is currently being discussed in religion and science on specific topics as well as how these topics have been discussed historically.
Article Start reading... Date Author and affiliation at time of writing

The word "agnosticism" comes from the Greek agnostos, which means "unknowable", which is also the root of the corresponding terms used in modern languages (fr. agnosticisme, ger. Agnosticismus, it. agnosticismo).

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2005 Gaspare Mura

Faculty of Philosophy, Pontifical Urbanian University, Rome, Italy.

The term "analogy" (Gr. analoghia) means a relation of likeness or resemblance existing among some elements which constitute two facts or two objects, so that we can infer a relationship of similarity between the facts or the objects themselves.

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2010 Alberto Strumia

Department of Mathematics, University of Bari, Italy (until 2011). Presently Faculty of Theology of Emilia Romagna, Bologna (Philosophy of Nature, Philosophy of Science, Logic).

One of the most important aspects of the transition from the Middle Ages to the Modern Age was the progressive withdrawal of the human person from the center of the physical cosmos, losing at the same time the philosophical privileges traditionally linked to that position.

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2005 Giuseppe Tanzella-Nitti

Faculty of Theology, Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, Rome, Italy.

Astronautics is the science of Space flight. The word was invented in 1927 by the French writer Joseph Henri Rosny, known as Rosny the Elder, and popularised by Robert Esnault Pelterie, one of the pioneers of Space exploration. Although astronautics is a matter for engineers in the same way as astronomy is a matter for scientists, it is still imbued with its own culture and traditions, human doubts and human passion.

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2008 Jacques Arnould

CNES - Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales, Paris, France.

In the ancient and modern languages, the word "atheism" comes from the Greek a-theotes, which means the negation of theos, that is, the negation of God.

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2005 Gaspare Mura

Faculty of Philosophy, Pontifical Urbanian University, Rome, Italy.

From a philosophical and a theological point of view, the notion of "autonomy" (gr. autos nomos, i.e. to be a rule to itself, or to govern itself) refers to the consistency that the world has with respect to God, to the value of its laws and properties.

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2002 Giuseppe Tanzella-Nitti

Faculty of Theology, Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, Rome, Italy.

The notion of "beauty," including its different meanings, crosses the entire history of thought. The concept involves the fields of natural sciences, of ethics, aesthetics and religion.

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2002 Wil Derske

University of Nijmega, Holland.

In the traditional artistic representations of the Nativity of Jesus of Nazareth, there is a reference to an astronomical event, commonly known as “the Star of Bethlehem.” The background is the Biblical text of the Gospel according to Matthew (Matthew 2:1-11).

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2002 Michele Crudele

Lecturer of Informatics, Campus Bio-Medico University of Rome

All the activity related to the terrain of human health, in every epoch and culture has been endowed with a moral and religious dimension, since the power to cure the illness was considered a kind of gift received from the sphere of the divine.

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2002 Antonio Spagnolo

Institute of Bioethics, Catholic University of the Sacro Cuore, Rome, Italy.

New

The contemporary dialogue between science and theology is often presented in terms of a comparison between the “Book of Nature” and the “Book of Scripture.” The metaphor of the Book of Nature is used to emphasize the parallel between nature and a “written document.” That is, a document written by someone and addressed to someone else; a document intended to convey an intelligible content; a text that might require a certain effort to be properly interpreted and explained according to its author’s original meaning. 

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2019 Giuseppe Tanzella-Nitti

Faculty of Theology, Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, Rome, Italy.

New

Chemistry is all around us. Indeed, the Earth, the whole universe including our own bodies are fundamentally composed of just 92 the chemical elements, the basic building blocks of matter. Chemistry and society have evolved together, influencing each other in a mutual relationship of interdependence. 

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2019 Antonino Puglisi

Department of Chemistry, Istanbul Technical University.

The world of movies is one of the most important places where cultural and social trends, and contemporary ways of thinking meet together. This world is not extraneous to science nor to religion.

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2002 Claudio Siniscalchi

Lecturer of History and Theory of Cinema, Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, Rome, Italy

The word "cosmology" has become more and more frequent in scientific literature. It designates the area of physics and astronomy which investigates the observable universe as a single object of study.

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2009 William Stoeger

Vatican Observatory, Tucson, AZ, U.S.A.

The notion of "creation" is theological in character. It belongs primarily to the language of biblical Revelation. When discussed within the broader contexts of religion, philosophy, or even science, such theological specificity is pointed out specifying that it is creation ex nihilo, i.e. out of nothing.

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2002 Giuseppe Tanzella-Nitti

Faculty of Theology, Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, Rome, Italy.

Our present concern in this essay is not to undertake a generic discussion about culture, but rather to explain the meaning of “scientific culture” in the context of the relationship between science and religion.

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2002 Gualberto Gismondi

Faculty of Theology, Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome, Italy.

Besides the traditional perspectives that theology or philosophy have had on the meaning of death, a number of new epistemological problems brought on by the development of science also converge on this theme today.

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2002 Michele Peláez

Department of Anthropology, University Campus Bio-Medico of Rome, Italy.

By "determinism" we usually mean that "once we know the laws governing the universe, or a particular system of it, and the associated initial conditions, those laws are such to "determine" in a fixed and absolute way the entire the temporal evolution of the system".

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2002 Alberto Strumia

Department of Mathematics, University of Bari, Italy (until 2011). Presently Faculty of Theology of Emilia Romagna, Bologna (Philosophy of Nature, Philosophy of Science, Logic).

It is fitting to commence this essay with these words from John Paul II: "The church and the scientific community will inevitably interact; their options do not include isolation. Science can purify religion from error and superstition; religion can purify science from idolatry and false absolutes. Each can draw the other into a wider world, a world in which both can flourish. We need each other to be what we must be, what we are called to be."

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2002 Russell Robert J.

The Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences, Berkeley - CA, U.S.A.

The problem of the environment and its preservation arose in the last decades particularly because of the great acceleration of technology in the most developed countries.

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2002 Fiorenzo Facchini

Department of Evolutionary Biology, University of Bologna, Italy.

Encyclopédie, ou dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers was the Titanic enterprise in 28 volumes attempted by some of the most representative exponents of the French Enlightenment, combining some of the best 18th-century cultural products around the idea of a scientific and rational arrangement of the whole of knowledge.

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2002 Claudio Fiorillo

Department of Moral Philosphy, University of Rome, Tor Vergata

The term "epistemology" derives from joining two Greek words, episteme (science) and logos (discourse). From an etymological point of view, it means a “discourse about science”. According to its contemporary meaning, by epistemology we indicate a philosophical discipline which reflects upon the positive knowledge and the scientific theories proper to a given epoch.

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2002 Gualberto Gismondi

Faculty of Theology, Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome, Italy.

Although the term is universally known and used in both scientific culture and everyday speech, when we speak of "evolution" a number of useful clarifications are needed; in fact, precisely because of its widely usage some terminological confusion can easily arise.

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2002 Ludovico Galleni

Department of Zoology, University of Pisa, Italy.

The concept of "experience" has many different meanings difficult to codify in a complete way. In any case, it shows two clear dimensions. On one side, experience is the starting point of our knowledge, because it offers the “data” that our theories will try to understand and explain; on the other hand, experience is invoked as the “criterium of validity” for our knowledge as such.

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2002 Rafael Martínez

Faculty of Philosophy, Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, Rome, Italy.

The sight of the starry sky has always given rise to profound questions. Among these, the question about the possibility that other planets may be inhabited by some form of life has been one of the most common and exciting.

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2008 Giuseppe Tanzella-Nitti

Faculty of Theology, Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, Rome, Italy.

By the notion of "fideism" (Fr. fideisme) we mainly indicate a theological movement of the 19th century according to which the capabilities of our reason to know moral and religious truths are so limited, that we can know them only by faith.

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2002 Paul Poupard

President of the Pontifical Council for Culture.

Natural finalism answers metaphysical questions such us: why do the natural forms appear as they do? Are there any natural goal-seeking processes? Finalism has been linked to determinism as natural laws often relate causality to the prediction of final states. Modern science, however, added much indeterminism: quantum physics, chaos, random mutations, etc.

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2009 Philippe Dalleur

Faculty of Philosophy, Pontificial University of the Holy Cross, Rome, Italy.

Geology is the discipline which studies the composition, the structure and the state of the earth, as well as the various phenomena that occur on its surface, or on its layers to which our experience can have access.

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2002 Francesco Abbona
Department of Earth Sciences, University of Turin, Italy.

Despite of its long-lasting theological tradition and its deep-rooting into the very birth of philosophy, the theme of the natural knowledge of God has always been the subject of critical debate. Starting from the Modern Age, the different theological perspectives on this subject were mainly due to different understandings of the dynamic between faith and reason.

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2013 Giuseppe Tanzella-Nitti

Faculty of Theology, Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, Rome, Italy.

During the historical development of culture, human reason has confronted two main questions that demanded an explanation: why does the world exist, and why does the human creature appear so different from the rest of visible nature.

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2010 Giuseppe Tanzella-Nitti

Faculty of Theology, Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, Rome, Italy.

Born within the Hebrew religious tradition, Christianity has its founder in Jesus of Nazareth. His teachings and works were proclaimed by his disciples and constitute what we call the Gospel, or the “Good News”. This message, centered around the paschal mystery of his death and resurrection, contains what his disciples heard and saw, but also the witness of the gradual insight they acquired reflecting upon the living acquaintance and intimacy they experienced with their Master.

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2002 Francesco Lambiasi

Formerly professor of Fundamental theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University. Rome, Italy.

For millennia the fascinating enigma of the unceasing beating of the heart has been a source of unexhausted stupor, wonder and veneration. Humans have often wondered what the mysterious force of the living principle was that keeps the heart in constant motion and makes it possible for it never to stop beating throughout the duration of an individual’s lifetime.

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2002 Lino Conti

Faculty of Philosophy, University of Perugia

The expression ‘hermeneutic’ derives from the Greek verb hermeneuein. That verb is related to the noun hermeneus,  which is referable to the name of the god Hermes by a playful thinking that is more compelling than the rigor of science. Hermes is the divine messenger who brings the message of destiny. The reference to Hermes and his being “the messenger God” underlies the reference to the intermediary par excellence in Platonic thought, an emblematic figure of philosophy itself, in his capacity as a mediator and as an interpreter.

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2002 Gaspare Mura

Faculty of Philosophy, Pontifical Urbanian University, Rome, Italy.

Within the various themes which bioethics is concerned with, the question about the nature of human life before birth has received so much attention that some could judge it even to be excessive.

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2002 Roberto Colombo

Faculty of Medicine, Catholic University of the Sacro Cuore, Milan, Italy.

By the word "idealism" we indicate that kind of philosophy which, when asked for the source of all human knowledge, answers by making knowledge identical with thought, that is with the ideas themselves.

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2002 Alessandro Salucci

Faculty of Philosophy, Pontifical University St. Thomas Aquinas, Rome, Italy.

Since ancient times, the word "infinite" displayed a wide spectrum of meanings. It was used in the language of philosophy and theology, in the language of mathematics and poetry.

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2002 Gianfranco Basti

Pontifical Lateran University, Rome, Italy.

Words such as "form" or "to form", "formula" or "to formulate", "format" or "information" are widely used. They belong not only to the language of classic and modern philosophy, but also to the language of science, especially to the field of computer sciences, which deal with logic and communication.

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2002 Eugenio Sarti

Faculty of Engineering, University of Bologna, Italy.

New

The present article intends to present recent perspectives about the increasingly meaningful role of information in the context of the biological sciences, starting from the early decades of the 21st century. This role concerns topics such as the evolution of species and the emergence of life.

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2019 Alberto Strumia

Department of Mathematics, University of Bari, Italy (until 2011). Presently Faculty of Theology of Emilia Romagna, Bologna (Philosophy of Nature, Philosophy of Science, Logic).

The expression Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a kind of paradox that attributes to what is “artificial,” something which is essentially “natural,” that is intelligence, the jealous prerogative of human nature. The expression is provocative indeed. There are those who ask whether a machine might really be “intelligent,” in the same sense that we use such an adjective to refer to the human mind.

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2002 Paola Mello

Faculty of Engineering, University of Bologna, Italy.

The mystery of the Word become flesh is the locus for the Christian understanding of the relation between God and nature, the key to understanding the meaning of the created world, the logic of its beginning and final fulfilment.

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2008 Giuseppe Tanzella-Nitti

Faculty of Theology, Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, Rome, Italy.

The notion of "law" is strongly analogical in character. Originating in the socio-juridical field, its usage was then extended to that of scientific rationality. In enters the domain of science first through the notions of harmonic rule and numerical proportion (Pythagoras), and, after the foundation of experimental method, through the mathematical formulation of physical phenomena. At the same time, the notion of law seems to refer to the presence of a ruler, that is one who governs.

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2008 Giuseppe Tanzella-Nitti

Faculty of Theology, Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, Rome, Italy.

New

By “Magisterium of the Catholic Church”, theology means and indicates the official teachings proclaimed by Catholic Bishops and especially by the Roman Pontiff as head of their assembly, throughout history. These teachings are intended to declare and shed light upon what Catholic faithful are asked to believe in order to be coherent with the contents of Sacred Scripture and the legacy of Tradition. 

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2019 Giuseppe Tanzella-Nitti

Faculty of Theology, Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, Rome, Italy.

When looking at the reality, the human beings perceive a natural link between themselves and the other animals, with which they share the great majority of their biological functions and processes, but, at the same time, the human beings realize their singularity and uniqueness.

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2002 Fiorenzo Facchini

Department of Evolutionary Biology, University of Bologna, Italy.

The term “materialism” is relatively recent. We first find it, towards the end of the 17th century, as an entry in Pierre Bayle’s (1647-1706) Dictionnaire historique et critique (1697). However, the philosophical perspective that it embodies is at least two thousand years older and dates back to Greek pre-Socratic thought.

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2008 Giuseppe Tanzella-Nitti

Faculty of Theology, Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, Rome, Italy.

In common, everyday language, we usually designate as “matter” everything which falls under the direct perception of our external senses: we call “material” that which one can see, touch, smell, taste and hear.

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2013 Alberto Strumia

Department of Mathematics, University of Bari, Italy (until 2011). Presently Faculty of Theology of Emilia Romagna, Bologna (Philosophy of Nature, Philosophy of Science, Logic).

Mechanics is the field of physics which studies the motion of material bodies. In the Greek ancient world mechanics was endowed with a negative nuance, because "mechanical art" represented a kind of material and hand-made activity, opposed to the nobler activity of thought, capable of elevating up to the world of ideas.

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2002 Alberto Strumia

Department of Mathematics, University of Bari, Italy (until 2011). Presently Faculty of Theology of Emilia Romagna, Bologna (Philosophy of Nature, Philosophy of Science, Logic).

Among the various branches of knowledge, medicine has a quite special place, due to the particular nature of its object: human beings and their health. Originally born as a University discipline, medicine joins together the aspects of both a theoretical science and a practical art.

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2002 Michele Peláez

Department of Anthropology, University Campus Bio-Medico of Rome, Italy.

Middle Ages are generally perceived as a period of darkness and stagnation between the heights of the Antiquity and the Renaissance. This notion is especially held to be true in the case of the medieval science.

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2014 Bruno Atalic

Historian of Medicine, Physician, General Hospital of Gospić, Croatia

The problem of the relationship between the mind and the body has stimulated the intellect of mankind of all epochs and cultures, because of the various implications it had, including those on the religious and existential levels.

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2002 Gianfranco Basti

Pontifical Lateran University, Rome, Italy.

The notion of miracle is subject to a variety of understandings and lexical uses, which has inevitably led to a broadening of its meanings. In general, a miracle indicates something out of the ordinary that points to a sphere of possibility and activity going beyond that which human beings are accustomed to knowing and carrying out in their daily lives.

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2017 Giuseppe Tanzella-Nitti

Faculty of Theology, Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, Rome, Italy.

In the language of the phenomenology of religion the term "mystery" (Gr. mysterion) is often associated with adjectives such as awesome (lat. tremendum), astonishing or fascinating (lat. fascinans), which try to express the relations of human beings with the divine and the experience they have of it.

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2002 Giuseppe Tanzella-Nitti

Faculty of Theology, Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, Rome, Italy.

In the development of human history, scientific progress succeeded in relegating what we call "myth" in a very secondary place. The term indicates all those ancient “tales” at the origin of human culture, a kind of intellectual framework that tries to explain the original relationship of the humankind with the whole of reality. Rationalism qualified myth as something “infra-scientific,” and thus incapable of containing or revealing any truth whatsoever.

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2002 Jean-Michel Maldamé

Institute Catholique, Toulose, France.

It is difficult to summarize in a single sketch how theology has made use of the Book of Nature since the birth of scientific method. We have many indicators, some contradictory. Around the 18th century, for example, in Britain the naive attempt to explain the attributes of God by means of a physico- or astro-theology, as occurred in the works of Ray, Derham, or Paley, co-existed alongside the writings of Joseph Butler who, focusing on the more realistic category of analogy, wrote an essay destined to exert a great influence on the works of John Henry Newman.

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2008 Giuseppe Tanzella-Nitti

Faculty of Theology, Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, Rome, Italy.

From an etymological point of view, the term "nature" comes from the Latin verb "nasci", which means to be born. Also the Greek "physis" refers both to growth and to production. The gender is feminine and it designates, by analogy, the role of a woman as mother, that is she who generates life.

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2002 Giovanni Monastra

FIDIA Laboratories, Abano - Padua, Italy.

The expression “New Age” suggests the idea of a renovatio mundi, i.e. a renewing of the world, which should take place thanks to a huge transformation of the general way of thinking, laid out by the common endeavor of a number of movements which cooperate together in achieving the same goal.

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2002 Andrea Porcarelli

Dominican Theological Study, Bologna, Italy.

The word "pantheism" comes from a composition of the Greek words "pan" ("all") and "theos" ("god"), and it is applied to all those doctrines which set forth that God is everything is; they are doctrines which identify, in various ways, God with the world.

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2002 Giuseppe Tanzella-Nitti

Faculty of Theology, Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, Rome, Italy.

The Pontifical Academy of Sciences has its roots in the “Academy of the Lincei” which was founded in Rome in 1603 as the first exclusively scientific academy in the world. The Academy of the Lincei achieved international recognition, but did not survive the death of its founder, Federico Cesi.

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2002 Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo

Chancelor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.

The term “Positivism” not only defines a philosophical movement, but also, in the wider sense of the word deals with science and culture, in the same way and in many similar aspects as do empiricism and pragmatism.

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2002 Michele Marsonet

Faculty of Philosophy, University of Genova, Italy.

First of all, I would like to mention only certain meanings and uses of the term. The concept of progress will be defined into more details all along the article. The word “progress” has been frequently used in cultural discussions and it is still used in common language.

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2002 Gualberto Gismondi

Faculty of Theology, Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome, Italy.

Psychology of religion takes into consideration behaviours and attitudes a person or a group define as religious, because they are connected with faith in a supernatural being or with a view of life which does not exclude the sacred dimension and seeks to understand its motivational factors.

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2002 Eugenio Fizzotti

The two great discoveries of 19th century physics were the nature of light as waves of electromagnetic radiation and the use of statistical mechanics to understand the energetic properties of complex systems.

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2002 John Polkinghorne

Queen's College, Cambridge - U.K.

Contrasting realism with idealism is standard philosophical practice. Contra the idealist, the perceptual epistemological realist contends that sensory perception gives us direct, unmediated cognitive access to external things. Traditionally, a precise characterization of realism and idealism requires an elucidation of two concepts: the material versus the mental. This classical distinction has roots in our common experience.

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2009 Michel Ghins

Centre de philosophie des sciences, Institut Supérieur de Philosophie UCL, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium.

A reductionist believes that a complex system is nothing but the sum of its parts. An account of it can be reduced to accounts of individual constituents. An antireductionist believes that the whole is more than the sum of its parts. There are holistic properties that cannot be described in purely constituent terms.

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2002 John Polkinghorne

Queen's College, Cambridge - U.K.

The theory of relativity is considered to be one of the greatest scientific theories of recent times as it allowed for the development of an entire cosmology, revolutionized the concepts of time, space, and matter, even from the philosophical point of view, and, together with quantum mechanics, it forms the basis of all of physics as we know it today.

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2002 Alberto Strumia

Department of Mathematics, University of Bari, Italy (until 2011). Presently Faculty of Theology of Emilia Romagna, Bologna (Philosophy of Nature, Philosophy of Science, Logic).

New

This entry will brief on the current state of the new scientific study of religion, showing its main developments and achievements. Then, a critical review will try to address the limits and the objections raised against that program, in order to gain a balanced reception.

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2019 Lluis Oviedo

Full Professor of Theological Anthropology and Fundamental Theology, Pontifical Antonianum University, Rome.

The faith in resurrection from death, through the power of God, constitutes one of the pivotal teachings of the Judaeo-Christian religious tradition. According to Tertullian (160-220), "the hope of Christians is the resurrection of the flesh." In addition, it seems something original and particular to Hebrews and Christians alone.

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2002 Paul O’Callaghan

Faculty of Theology, Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, Rome, Italy.

The relationship between Sacred Scripture and the scientific vision of the world constitutes a particular aspect, and a quite relevant one, of the problem of the relationship between science and faith.

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2008 Claudio Basevi

Faculty of Theology, University of Navarra, Pamplona, Spain.

In contrast with the general disengagement trend of postmodernist thought, scientists are seen by the Catholic Church as learned interlocutors, who embody specific rational needs, despite their being rightly or wrongly associated with agnostic or atheistic ideas.

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2017 Giuseppe Tanzella-Nitti

Faculty of Theology, Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, Rome, Italy.

Science is the search for an understanding of the nature and pattern of the physical world. That may seem a very obvious thing to say, and most scientists would be astonished to learn that there was any other way of thinking about their subject.

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2008 John Polkinghorne

Queen's College, Cambridge - U.K.

For most people, the first encounter with science takes place at school. Despite the growing importance of scientific communication at large and the increase in training and information channels, the greatest impact is made by science classes at school, through the first textbooks and the impression made by the teachers’ face and broad or strict personalities and approaches.

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2002 Mario Gargantini

Emmeciquadro, Euresis, Milan, Italy.

New

Has science a humanistic significance of its own? Indeed, if science is truly humanistic, to what does its humanistic message actually amount? To obtain a synthetical view about science, we shall begin by situating science itself within the general striving of man after knowledge. Second, we shall summarize the reasons why science has come to be seen as a threat rather than a contribution to man’s humanity. 

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2018 Enrico Cantore

Scholar in History and Philosophy of Science. Formerly at Gregorian University, Rome, and Fordham University, New York.

Narratives are important from cultural and historical perspectives. They have stayed with humans along the centuries. Today, they are useful for understanding the structure of human lives in varied fields that study the nature of the human being from different perspectives. Contemporarily, different fields of study, such as philosophy, theology, psychology and the neurosciences affirm that narratives are rooted in human nature and that human life has a narrative structure. 

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2014 Omowumi Ogunyemi

Post graduate program, Faculty of philosophy, PUSC, Rome.

 

The Shroud of Turin is an old, well-manufactured linen cloth, with herring-bone pattern, 436 cm length and 100 cm large. On the verso of the linen is visible the image of the frontside and the backside of a man.

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2002 Giuseppe Ghiberti

Catholic University of the Sacro Cuore, Milan, Italy.

If it is true that Nature, generally understood, is the common ground on which not only scientific observations and philosophical reflections, but also the religious experience grew and developed, the "sky" represents the “conceptual ambit” in which science, philosophy and religion probably reached their deepest interpenetration.

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2002 Giuseppe Tanzella-Nitti

Faculty of Theology, Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, Rome, Italy.

According to Plato, the etymology of the Greek word psyché derives from the verb anapneîn, which means "to breath", or also anapsycho "to dry up". Aristotle suggests to see its root in the noun katápsyxis, which means "making cool", just as Origen does, when he describes the archaic “falling down” of the human spirits by means of a “cooling” of a pure spiritual reality.

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2002 Paul O’Callaghan

Faculty of Theology, Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, Rome, Italy.

In the Western tradition the notion of “spirit,” or “mind,” is rich and complex for the various religious, philosophical and theological meanings it comprises. In this polysemantic horizon, the symbol/concept of spirit is inherently one of tension, if not even bipolar: from the theological point of view, it denotes the presence of God in relation to the world and, dialectically, His difference from it in terms of transcendence and sacredness/sanctity.

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2002 Piero Coda

Pontifical Lateran University, Rome, Italy.

Technique came along with mankind. Along the years, the term has acquired several meanings, indicating rules and practical methods issuing from an art, a profession, a job, an intellectual activity, a sport etc.; practical activities based upon regulations evolving from experience, at different times and areas.

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2002 Gualberto Gismondi

Faculty of Theology, Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome, Italy.

We experience time as a continuous and unstoppable passage from what has been to what is now and, further, to what will be. This almost imperceptible flow does not mean that time is an absolute entity, for instance the so-called theory of “absolute” or empty time, advanced by Newton, among others; indeed, in reality, time is a characteristic that derives from movement, as thought by the “relational theory” of time, differently formulated by Aristotle and Leibniz.

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2002 Juan José Sanguineti

Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, Rome, Italy.

The central question for science, philosophy, and theology is truth. In each of these three great areas of human knowledge truth is incessantly sought for with diverse methods and along different roads, so representing their infinite duty.

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2002 Vittorio Possenti

University of Venice, Italy.

The study of the relationship between scientific and human culture, between an empirical and a sapiential view of the world —including in the latter the knowledge coming from theology and biblical Revelation— unavoidably leads to the question of the possibility and the conditions that can render meaningful the search for a "unity of knowledge."

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2002 Giuseppe Tanzella-Nitti

Faculty of Theology, Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, Rome, Italy.

The term "universe" is employed to indicate the physically ordered ensemble of all the material entities existing in nature. The Latin etymology suggests that the universe is constituted by many different things, unum in diversis, that is "the one in many different components."

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2002 Juan José Sanguineti

Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, Rome, Italy.

The idea that to foster and pass on knowledge one needed people and places precisely devoted to this end goes back to Antiquity: between the end of the 12th and the beginning of the 13th centuries, this idea was to be implemented in an organized manner through the foundation of Mediaeval universities.

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2002 Giuseppe Tanzella-Nitti

Faculty of Theology, Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, Rome, Italy.