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Open Theology

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Ernan McMullin’s Thought on Science and Theology: An Appreciation

Amerigo Barzaghi / Josep Corcó
Published Online: 2015-11-06 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/opth-2015-0032


The thought of Ernan McMullin on the relationship between science and theology can be summarized with a word that he himself used: consonance. We briefly describe this epistemological proposal, and we show a concrete instance of its application by way of a short analysis of one of McMullin’s interdisciplinary works, “Cosmic Purpose and the Contingency of Human Evolution.” With the help of the authoritative comment that William Stoeger has made on this paper, we sketch McMullin’s effort to find a consonance between two different claims: the theological one – humans expected – and the evolutionary one – humans unexpected. In this case, consonance is reached by recurring to the classic Augustinian notion of the atemporality of God. We then show how McMullin’s way of interpreting consonance affects the question of the viability of a natural theology in a scientifically informed era. In fact, his distrust of various kinds of natural theology is another crucial aspect of his epistemological framework for interdisciplinary dialogue.

Keywords: consonance; Ernan McMullin; evolutionary contingency; natural theology


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About the article

Received: 2015-07-30

Accepted: 2015-09-24

Published Online: 2015-11-06

Citation Information: Open Theology, Volume 1, Issue 1, ISSN (Online) 2300-6579, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/opth-2015-0032.

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©2015 Amerigo Barzaghi, Josep Corcó. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 License. BY-NC-ND 3.0

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