La mediación filosófica en el diálogo entre ciencia y teología: un análisis del concepto de consonancia

Oscar Beltrán



Philosophical intervention in the dialogue between science and theology: an analysis of the concept of consonance


In the last decades, a strong debate on the relationship between science and theology has taken place. In the early 1980, Ernan McMullin introduced the notion of “consonance”, defined as the spontaneous convergence of the conclusions presented by the natural sciences and theology on certain features or properties of the universe. In this paper, I shall try, first and foremost, to carefully look into the meaning that has been attributed to this relationship. Thus, I shall examine the possible implications derived from specific cases of consonance; I shall consider the connection between consonance and truth (as well as, symmetrically, the one that could be established between “dissonance” and falseness); I shall expand on the proposal for a dialogue based on different attitudes regarding consonance (rejection, indifference, acceptance and promotion); I shall evaluate the thesis that understands consonance as a cultural construction or an a priori accepted in certain contexts; finally, I shall mention certain variations of this concept, such as strong and weak consonance, or hypothetical consonance. Then, I shall explain the assumptions on which the idea of consonance rests: the unity and intelligibility of reality, the diversity of formal objects and the realism of knowledge. All these assumptions are comprehensive proof of the indispensable intervention of philosophy, as wisdom, in any kind of exchange that occurs between science and theology. And it is only from them that criticism regarding this issue is vested authority. Finally, I suggest a series of critical proposals on the notion of consonance. I shall stress, on the positive side, the opportunity that it offers to move towards a greater disciplinary integration and foster, at the same time, the ordering mission of philosophical wisdom. On the negative side, I shall point out the confusion between religion and theology, the tendency towards a kind of epistemic naturalism of theology, the uncertain creation of the idea of scientific realism and the aspiration to an excessive interference among disciplines.


dialogue; consonance; science; theology; philosophy

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