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The Science and Religion Dialogue

Past and Future

Michael Welker

This book documents the conference on The Science and Religion Dialogue: Past and Future, held at the University of Heidelberg, Germany, October 25-29, 2012. The conference commemorated the 100th anniversary of the birth of Sir John Templeton and the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the John Templeton Foundation. It brought together about 60 active participants, all of them prominent scholars from many countries and many academic fields. Most of them have been engaged in the Science and Religion Dialogue for the last two or three decades. This book reports on multi-year international and interdisciplinary research projects at leading institutions. The contributions start with presentations by Hans Joas, Martin Nowak and John Polkinghorne and range from Astronomy, Mathematics, Physics and Biology to Philosophical Theology and Religious Ethics. Special topics of the dialogue between Science and Religion are also dealt with, such as Eschatology and Anthropology; Cosmology, Creation, and Redemption; Evolutionary Biology and the Spirit; and The Role of Thought Experiments in Science and Theology.
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Note on Formal Reasoning in Theology

1.  Introduction


In the tradition of Thomas Aquinas, the business of logic is the guidance of reasoning, as reasoning needs guidance to proceed without errors. Logic is therefore some sort of superscience or superart1.

The modern development of logic provides however a somewhat more modest picture: contemporary logic is useful for the analysis of argumentations and for the fine-tuning of reasoning, mathematics being the most prominent field of application. Nontrivial applications of logic to other sciences depend on the adaption of mathematics’ logical methods and aims at the peculiarities of the sciences in question. This note should be considered as modest step towards the identification of a logical framework for theology2.

From a modern viewpoint, the impact of scientific concepts is more important than their classification. The most important operational concept of medieval logic is without a doubt the syllogism together with the separation of assumption (invention) and judgement. Aristotle twice defines the syllogism as a discourse (oratio) in which – certain things being stated – something other than what is stated follows of necessity from their being so (Prior Analytics 24b 18–20, Topics 100a 25–26). The following syllogism and its analysis is intended to demonstrate the application of logic to theology. ← 193 | 194 →

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