Latin-American Prospective to an Integration of Knowledge: Beyond “Interdisciplinarity” and “Transdisciplinarity”

Latin-American Prospective to an Integration of Knowledge: Beyond “Interdisciplinarity” and “Transdisciplinarity”

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The historical attempts to achieve a “universalis scientia” since the Modern age have always crashed against the permanent temptation of syncretism1. This paper is a continuation of a paper presented at the 2005 Metanexus Meeting, where it was proposed some essential issues to consider for an integration of knowledge: a. The level of reliability of the disciplines. b. Their control from inside and outside. c. The epistemological institutions to ask for control. In this paper, there is an addition of some concrete points of view to focus the discussion in a second level of reflection, with some contributions to the reflection on the integration of the knowledge originated in the Latin American area.

Firstly, it will be remembered the principle of distinction between science and religion, to allow a non ambiguous dialogue between both of them. Then, the paper will develop the reflections the philosophers Mauricio Beuchot, from Mexico, and Juan Carlos Scannone, from Argentina. Finally, I am going to add a personal point of view about the integration of knowledge.


Today it is clear the importance of establishing the criteria of differentiation of science and religion. This is what Ian Barbour calls “independence” of both disciplines. They have “separated domains” and “different languages and functions”2. This is the condition sine qua non for the “dialogue” and eventually the “integration” between science and religion3. Even stricter is the opinion of Stephen Jay Gould when he speaks about “Non overlapping Magisteria” (NOMA)4. This is a warning to avoid the syncretism in the mixture between science and religion. Science and religion have their own different fields and it is important to respect them. He defines the term magisterium as a domain where one form of teaching holds the appropriate tools for meaningful discourse and resolution. Thus, according to NOMA, the magisterium of science covers the empirical realm: what the Universe is made of (fact) and why does it work in this way (theory). The magisterium of religion extends over questions of ultimate meaning and moral value. These two magisteria do not overlap, nor do they encompass all inquiry (consider, for example, the magisterium of art and the meaning of beauty). In conclusion, NOMA demarcates the limits between the sciences and religion in the spirit of the modern age which established the autonomy of different disciplines.

II. Integration and dialogue

After this delimitation of fields, it is necessary to search for the connection among sciences, philosophy and religion. In my 2005 paper I tried to organize this topic by the delimitation of the places and reliability of different disciplines. Now, I propose three concrete perspectives of integration of science and religion, originate in the Latin-American region.

II. 1. Analogical Hermeneutics

The analogical hermeneutics of Mauricio Beuchot (MÈxico) puts in connection the hermeneutic tradition, i.e., the process of interpretation of the texts and signs, on the one hand, and the analogy, i.e., the philosophical way of knowledge which considers that there is an ontological scale and proportionality, on the other –and then, sciences, philosophy and theology need to adequate to them.  Some authors consider that the analogical hermeneutics is a new discipline 5. In any case, it could be considered as an inter-discipline.

The natural sciences have the tendency to go toward an unequivocal meaning of the concepts. In any case, they tend to raise a mathematic or unequivocal definition of the phenomena. Human sciences today have also a mathematic orientation (statistics, chronologies, reductionism to biochemistry processes, etc.). Anyway, certain lines of the philosophy of the last century –especially in the continental European area- have developed a hermeneutic program of philosophical reflection. Names like Wilhelm Dilthey, Martin Heidegger, Hans-Georg Gadamer, Paul Ricoeur, Umberto Eco and others express this line of philosophy. Interpretation of texts -and then the rest of reality- is the task of hermeneutics. This way of understanding explores the different meanings of the texts.

Maurcio Beuchot analyses the history of the fundamentation of the human sciences from Dilthey to Gadamer and Ricoeur6. In fact, Dilthey distinguishes between sciences of the nature and sciences of the spirit. Dilthey searches for an epistemology and methodology for the human sciences or sciences of the spirit. In his last writings he puts in the hermeneutics the basis and methodology of the human sciences. After him, Heidegger applies the hermeneutics to the phenomenology, although who apply the hermeneutics to the human siences are Gadamer and Ricoeur. In the traces of Heidegger, Gadamer considers that the experiences that give the criteria for the hermeneutic work are those originated in the field of the art, the history and the philosophy. He indicates that hermeneutics is a fenomenology of the understanding of meaning, and that is the basis of the human sciences. The French philosopher Paul Ricoeur thinks also that hermeneutics is the fundamenta and the method of the social sciences. Moreover, the interpretation is given always into a “hermeneutic circle”, where text, reader and reality are engaged.

Beuchot concludes his study on the history of hermeneutics and human sciences with the idea that “…hermeneutics is the episteme of human sciences”. But the analogy is also the episteme of the human sciences, because it allows going from the knowledge of one-self, i.e. from the subjectivity, to the knowledge of the others, i.e., of the inter-subjectivity and even of the objectivity. The meeting beteween hermeneutics and analogy produces the opportunity for the social sciences to get until the maximum of their possibilities.

Anyway, hermeneutics includes in it self the possibility of a diversity of interpretations and then the possibility of the equivocal ones. This is the reason because it is necessary taking into consideration the ancient proceeding of “analogy”. The conjunction of hermeneutics and analogy produces the “analogical hermeneutics” that avoids the risks of the two extreme solutions: unequivocal or equivocal understanding of reality.

Especially, Beuchot proposes the application of the analogic hermeneutics to the philosophy of sciences. According his theory, it is necessary speaking of a “hermeneutization of the present philosophy of sciences” as a possibility way out of a reductionist epistemology that considerates the knowledge only under the model of the natural sciences 7.

Moreover, Beuchot applies his method to different fields of the knowledge: philosophy, literature, anthropology, pedagogy, psychology, theology, hermeneutic of the Latin American culture, etc. Its method has an interesting fertility because it can include in it self the humanities and the natural sciences.

The Mexican philosopher sinthetysis its thinking and the possibilities of the analogic hermeneutics for the problems of some philosophies of our times:

“Analogical Hermeneutics is, firstly, an attempt to amplify the margin of interpretations without a renounciation to the limits; an attempt to open the textual true, i.e., of the possible readings of a text, without leaving the hierarchy of approaches to a delimitated or able to be delimitated true. It is an attempt to answer to that actually tension between the univocal hermeneutics, characteristic of the positivist thinking, and the equivocal hermeneutics of the relativistic philosophies, today expresses in the postmodernist thinking. The univocal trend, represented by many positivistic positions, has looked for a perfect language and a unified science, etc…” 8

In brief, the analogical hermenutics is a contribution to think the integration of knowledge that allows locates the different sciences –human and natural ones- in conexion with their object of study. In this frame, it is possible reflect about the especiall relationship between sciences and religion. In fact, it implies collaboration among differenciate sciences, where the moment of interpretation should be complementate with an analogical moment9.

II.2. Analectic

II.2.1. Juan Carlos Scannone (Argentina) tries to link human and natural sciences with philosophical reflection, and finally with the theology. He understands the process of knowledge as a part of cultural life. According to Scannone, one of the features of the modern culture is that the “inter” (of interdisciplinary) is a phenomenon of compensation that connects the autonomy of disciplines and the particular beliefs – that is another phenomenon of the modern age. In the modern period, the medieval hierarchy of knowledge disappears. Every science understands something of reality and the unity of knowledge is in the totality of the knowledge. Religion gives the last meaning to the sciences, while it needs the scientific explanations to complete its view.

Scannone says that analogy, i.e., this proceeding of the intelligence to catch the common into the differences of the beings, a key to understand the differenciated unity of the being. But the analogy should to confrontate with history, sciences and culture to allow a deep understanding of reality10.

II.2.2. Since the Second Vatican Council, the Roman Catholic theology has emphasized the historical dimension of faith. The Latin American theology particularly developed a situated method and for this goal it necessary to ellaborate a local philosophy. Scanonne worked in a Latin American philosophy.

II.2.3. Scannone, following Lonergan’s theory, looks for a method for theology that has two main features: on the one hand, that be “situated” in the culture and problematic of Latin America, i.e., that integrates the own problems and structures of reasoning and expression; on the other hand, a method with universal validity, i.e., not only for local communities. Briefly, he works for a simoultaneously situated and universal method. It would be a “method of methods”. That is for him the “analectic” or “anadialectic”.

II.2.4. In an article about the scientific and technological thougth in the Latin American culture11, Scannone considers that the techno-science implies a universal way of thougth that takes away the cultural differences and the ethic orientation. Its rationality is abstract and universal, not concret and local and doesn’t considere the finality of the human acts.

According to this thinker, the wisdom of the Latin American cultures has the ability to reorientate thecno-scientif rationality but respecting its autonomy and especifity. Moreover, this culture is the effect of a fruitful mixture of different cultures and, for this, it has the ability to generate “alive synthesis” in the unity of the differencies. The situation of the techno-scientific rationality from the Latin American cultural wisdom is possible because it has a true rationality. This rationality is global, established on the cultural ground and ethically orientated toward the justice, and impregnated for a Christian meaning of the life.12

II.3. An historic and personal perspective of knowledge: The map as a metaphor for understanding the dynamic confluence of knowledge and experience in the person.

This is my own contribution, included in a personalistic, historical tradition of crhistian theology, especially founded in the contemporary thinkers.13 This assumes the NOMA axiom and partially the reflections of Beuchot and Scannone but integrating them in a historically personal perspective.  The individual man is he who processes and synthesizes the assemblage of experiences including those which reach him by means of the objective frames of the culture.14 The concrete human being is the one who knows. The Western and Eastern medieval tradition developed the concept of “person” (hypostasis, prosopon, persona) which validity perpetuates, at least as a semantic substrate, in our times. In the light of this principle, I will try to outline some reflections of integrative character.

II.3.1. Anthropological and Metaphysical Fundamentals: the Individual and Collective Human Being as a Traveller.

The human being is someone permanent in his nature although never absolutely fulfilled. He keeps defining his personal originality in and along his story. This historicity is collective and individual. The latter, i.e. the individual or personal temporality- allows speaking about the biographic structure of each human being15. His development in history is produced in a unique way not only because of his individual originality, but mainly due to the successive vital choices that the human subject keeps making all along his life.

The expression “way” primarily means a space, which is destined for the human transit. There is also a metaphorical use of the word in an anthropologic order. Thus, we speak about “way” or “walking” to refer to the decisions taken in time. From this perspective, man has been considered as a walker, a traveller, a pilgrim, in a physical and spiritual territory. Moreover, starting from studies of compared religions, history of literature and art16, it has been concluded that this image applied to human life constitutes part of the symbolic archetype.

The metaphor of the travel offers various advantages for the integration of the knowledge. Among other reasons, it places the human knowledge historically: it is temporal, either for the subject or for the cultures and humanity as a whole. But it is also provisory; it is not consumed completely by any conquest or theory. Likewise, it gives reasons to integrate extra rational factors, such as the imagination, in the cognitive process. What has been the impact of science fiction literature as Julio Verne or Ray Bradbury’s to interest and promote the research on the solar system and the space in general?17 Every dimension of the human knowledge includes temporality and imagination without which there would not be knowledge itself. This is being emphasized by the contemporary hermeneutic philosophy (Heidegger, Gadamer, Ricoeur, etc.).18

This is so, given that each story is original: There are children who live only a few days and old people whose lives last for almost a hundred years. There are those who will never know hunger and others who will walk hand in hand with famine. There are those who will access to higher studies writing complex specialities and those who will only know oral language. There are men and women whose habitual landscape will be nature and others whose daily background will be grey walls and artificial city lights. In brief, there are not two exactly identical ways.

II.3.2.The Person as the Ultimate Knower

Western modern philosophy based its thinking on the cognoscitive subject (Descartes: ego cogitans; Kant: the transcendental subject, etc.). The scientific thinking and the hermeneutical philosophy have more recently contributed to dissolve the idea of an isolated man, a tabula rasa, a“blank board”, that may board knowledge with an absolute naiveness.

On the one hand, sciences have shown us that we are part of an evolution process and that we carry in our bodies and genes the accumulation of such process. Somehow we are this process and we watch the universe by means of the features given by our genetic structure. There is a “transcendental” structure of perception which is in our inner self and that implies a very slowly and complex evolution of the matter and living corporality. In other words, we sense the cosmos because we have it in our structure19.

On the other hand, the sciences of language and the hermeneutic philosophy have explained that we always learn from a given language. Our current debate would not be the same if we lived in the II BC century and expressed ourselves in Greek. Obviously, language is also a result of the intellectual activity and it is modified by the acquisition of new knowledge and new techniques20. Nowadays we are less naive as regards human understanding.


II.3.3. Horizon

a. Literal Sense

“Horizon” has a primarily geographic meaning: it is “the line that limits the Earth’s surface at an observer’s position”. It can also be used in a different scope; thus, in the psychological or logical sphere it may be the more or less broad field where the stream of thinking may take place.

b. Philosophical Sense

In the philosophical scope, the expression “horizon” offers different meanings21 .

The actual meaning of this word would be linked to Kant, who would have used it as the “limit of knowledge”22. Nevertheless, the phenomenology has given it a greater force.  In this way, Husserl points out that “every personal experience has a horizon23.

Ortega y Gasset develops the concept of horizon making reference to a “vital horizon”24 and to a “historic horizon”. When interpreting the circumstance where we have to be, and by interpreting ourselves in so far we pretend to be within such circumstance, “we define the horizon within which we have to live”. He adds that “such group of safeties that we achieve to produce, to build thinking about the circumstances… is the world, the vital horizon”. The vital horizon is closely linked to the historic horizon: people are formed within “horizons”. Xavier Zubiri points out other reflections about the horizon25. The human vision horizon is formed “by the familiar dealing with things”.

The philosopher on Hermeneutics Hans Georg Gadamer26 has used abundantly this idea. His concept of horizon is as follows:

“The ambit of vision that embraces and encloses all that is visible from a certain point. Applying it to the thinking conscience we so speak about the narrowness of the horizon, about the possibility of broadening the horizon, about opening new ones. The philosophic language has used this word, mainly from Nietzsche and Husserl, to characterise the bond between the thought and its finite determination and the law of the broadening progress of visual ambit. A man without horizons is someone who does not see enough and consequently overvalues what falls closer to him. On the contrary, having horizons implies not to be limited to what is closer to us but to be able to see beyond it. Those who have horizons can correctly appreciate the meaning of everything that falls within them according to the patterns: near and far, big and small. (…)27

The horizon is not something closed but expanding:

“In the same way each individual is never a lonely one because he is always dealing with others, a closed horizon that would surround cultures is an abstraction. The historic mobility of the human existence is based on the absence of an absolute link to a determined position, and in this sense there are neither actually closed horizons. Better to say, the horizon is something where we make our way and that makes way with us. The horizon keeps the same pace of the one who is moving. The horizon of the past, from which all the human life lives and which is down there as “tradition” is also in perpetual movement”.28

II.3.4. Different horizons

Human being is an incomplete and structurally half-able being. He must necessarily build culture to survive: he is naturally cultural.

II.3.4.1. Popular wisdom

  1.    The common experience of the peoples is treasured as popular wisdom. The sayings, proverbs, popular symbols, knit a very complex net of understanding of the world, of the Divine, and of man himself, which is synthesized and transmitted in a simple way and which acts as referent of sense for the concrete man.29

II.3.4.2. Aesthetic Experience

By means of art, man generates a new space in the cosmos; somehow, he creates a new territory of figures which is transformed in a perceptive and hermeneutic space of the universe and of man himself, a new sounding, tactile and visible universe which enables an original perception of the world where the human being lives, transits and nourishes from. It is a kind of “map of the world”30.  This new stage set by the artistic activity produces a modification not only in the geography but also in the perceiving subject. On the one hand, the exterior territory changes:  the existence of paintings, sculptures, buildings, musical compositions, novels, etc., implies a phenomenal and ontological novelty. On the other hand, this iconic novelty awakens a multiplicity of sensations and unique understandings. The “sensing” subjects enter in a new world31. Thus, art transforms not only the worldly but also the human territory. It is not the same whether Hamlet existed or not: in the human universe there is an operating work of a view on revenge and destiny that constitutes a hermeneutic space, where it is possible to go in and then go out somehow transformed.

II.3.4.3.The Philosophical Knowledge

A particular way of conscientious interpretation of the universe is philosophy. As a cultural fact, the philosophical thinking works as reference ambit for the big questions about reality. The walker meets a full discursive weave that acts as a questioning frame and as an answering attempt about the mystery of the being. The mere presence of figures such as Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Kant, Hegel, Wittgenstein, etc., operates as a strong horizon of confrontation with reality. The contact with the universal philosophical tradition provokes an arousal of lucidity, an interconnection of problems and solutions which have been accepted or rejected by others, a series of practical consequences which have taken shape in the concrete history of peoples.

III.3.4.4. Sciences

More recently in human history, sciences have taken an increasing density so as to become the hermeneutic horizon that most powerfully influences the understanding and transformation of the world. By means of a combination of experience and mathematisation of the reality, the natural sciences offer the individual a perspective of the micro and macroscopic of the universe absolutely superior to what he can sense as an isolated individual. A XXI century person knows there are bacterias and viruses, molecules and atoms, or infinitesimal realities at his habitual sight; and he also knows that there are stars at thousand of million light years distance and, consequently, of time; etc. This operates as a prodigious expansion of his observation of the landscape where he transits.

II.3.4.5. Religious Experience

Religions offer a horizon with the tonality of the Absolute:  there is someone or something that transcends the relative and ephemeral dimensions of the rest of the landscape where man transits. This may be called “god” or “gods” and its fundamental feature is to appear as absolute. Historical religions have been built on this belief. In general terms, religions admit some kind of revelation or intercourse with divine beings. They may or may not have a personal character, but they all confer the human horizon its definite, “strong”, clear dimention. It is about the “Horizon” with capital letter under which the horizons of other cultural fields link up. In other words, there is something definite in the landscape, something that grants its ultimate tonality and consistency. Without it, the rest of the partial horizons lose its meaningfulness. In fact, the religious experience tends to confer a perspective centred in the absolute alterity of someone or some ones or something that provides a definite sense to the subject and his background. True to say, religion acts as an ultimate structure of configuration of the perception of the subject-walker: there is nothing ulterior; eventually, whatever there may be is a responsibility of the religious horizon.

II.3.4.6. Theology: An Experience Reasoned from the Revelaled Absolute

Theology is the conjunction of the experience of the revealed religion plus the historical use of human rationality. In a few words, theology is the intelligence of the faith -such as I present it based on my experience of the religious tradition itself – “fides quarens intellectum” (Saint Anselmo).

From the point of view of the present lecture, theology must be considered as an objective frame of symbolic and speculative discourses that acts as a referent, either rational or trans-rational for the believer. As a cultural fact, theology has had a high orientating efficacy: it has enlightened the formulation of faith confession, of the substrates of the moral life either individual or collective, of the religious art, of the concrete way of living spirituality, etc. Europe, for example, could be unthinkable without the influence of figures such as Saint Augustin, Saint Atanasio, Saint Maximus the Confessor, etc. That is to say, not only religion has a historical efficiency but also theology as a cultural fact.

Christian theology in particular has used philosophy as a primary intellectual tool. Disciplines such as philology, literary criticism, etc., were also used but not until deep within Modern Age it had a secondary use as regards philosophy. From the XIX century an overwhelming incorporation of scientific sciences –human and natural ones- takes place32. Naturally, this integration coincides with the notorious development of the sciences during the last two centuries. Nowadays a theology that excludes philology, history, text criticism, etc. is unthinkable. Diverse theological streams use other disciplines such as sociology, psychology, different versions of hermeneutics, etc. For instance, in Latin America, particularly since the 70’, social sciences have been used in theological reflection33.

II.3.5. Personal as Horizon

Is there a personal entity behind the set of images that appear in the walker’s conscience? We may wonder if the hermeneutic horizons that accompany man give him a personal dimension.

Sciences do not offer a personal frame. The same conscience of methodological limitation has caused the restriction of every “personalizing” intention of the reality: there is not even a Watchmaker or an Architect beyond the universe.

The philosophy of the last centuries, except for certain streams (deisms, personalisms, transcendental existentialisms) is generally not able to visualise a personal face at the end of their analyses.

On the other hand, not all the religions offer an absolute of personal character. In some cases, the personality of the divinities is too different from the human one.

The question that we may now make is the following: Do we need this personal horizon? Or rather, as it was shown by high cultural expressions such as the Greek tragedies, the existence of a Destiny or simply an impersonal Logos is enough34. Western modern age knew similar ways of wisdom as the observance of impersonal forces: the Hegelian absolute Spirit, the Kantian practical reason, the Freudian unconsciousness, the Marxist social dialect, the Comtean science, the Spencerian evollutive becoming, the plain freedom of the French Illuminism, the capital of the economic liberalism, etc. In every case, the same salvific effect was sought: serenity in thinking and action as a consequence of docility at the face of something –not someone.

The philosophical personalisms are raised at the face of this possibility and, above all the religions of the Person. In all these cases, the serenity on the road lies in the certainty that there is a “Who” in the origin, in the destination and on the same transit. One is not alone. To set a difference between the other “soteriologies”, these religions believe salvation is found in a “meeting-with-someone” and not in an “obedience-to-something”.

The question about the real or not real entity of the personal subject on which they are based is another subject upon which there are serious discrepancies. At the beginning of modernity, everything seems suspicious as regards this subject: projection (Feuerbach), illusion (Freud), allienation (Marx), fiction (Hume, Borges). It is no longer the idea of the divine, but rather the idea of a personal divinity, since the absolute impersonality may be understood within a universe that seems to be almost infinite. The disjunction is whether it is a person or not.

For this reason, solitude or rather loneliness35, is a key word: you are either accompanied or pilgrim in an impressive cosmos with thousand of million years of history and almost infinite distances crowded by stars.

II.3.6. A Comprehensive Horizon

Is there a horizon that allows housing the other ones? Naturally, this is the question about the absolute. It must be considered that the absolute horizon is not necessarily personal. Not all the religions refer to personal divinities as the Judaism and Christianity do. I am interested in highlighting that the absolute Horizon can respond as a “who” or simply stand out as a mysterious but anonymous support for the human way. The fact that an absolute “you” accompanies transcendentally the history of the cosmos and man is highly relevant. For the moment, it is a Horizon that takes part and dialogues, which acts freely and intelligently in the cosmic and human scenery.

II.3.6.1. The Original Feature of Christianity: the Trinitarian Monotheism

Christianity supplied the concept of a Trinitarian absolute together with the idea of incarnation or humanization of God. The novelty of the message of Jesus Christ about the divine ontology is that God is three “someone” –Father, Son and Holly Spirit- without being unique. This is about an absolute, sole reality but with three personal poles: a triple fragmentation within a unique transcendent reference. In other words, the definite horizon is conceived as one and, simultaneously three-parted. The late text of Mathew 28, 20 presents a resuscitated Jesus Christ who exhorts his disciples to announce the Gospel and to “baptize on the name of the Father, the Son and the Holly Spirit”. The fact is that the primitive Christian community believed that God is one and plural at the same time. This is a central certainty and forms part of the liturgy of the primitive Christianity. Moreover, it marks the difference with the Jewish mono-personalist monotheism. Nevertheless, the Trinitarian belief did not find quickly its conceptual frame, thus causing a complex theoretical controversy during the following centuries.

The history of Christian theology teaches that this theological perception – a ternary absolute- was not always a clear one, at least in the practical faith and thinking. A theologian from the last century, Karl Ranher, pointed out that in theology and spirituality of his time a “forgiveness” of Trinity has taken place.36 This situation has been reversed and, in the Christian churches there has been a new discovery of the communional identity of the unique Absolute during the last decades.37

II. A Communion Absolute.

The idea of a three-personal God caused the elaboration of a category that Aristotle did not know: the substantial relation. The primitive Christianity thought that the deepest reality is this substantially relational reality that is God himself.38 Father, Son and Holy Spirit are “to be for the other” absolutes in the single nature or divine substance.

A way to express this is through the concept of “communion”. God is a mystery of communion in His deepest reality39. Father, Son and Holy Spirit are a unique divine reality, which intercommunicate between them without reservation. The technical expression “perijoresis” or “circumincession” was also elaborated40. It means that each of the divine persons is in the others without confounding or annulling themselves. Even more, each of them is more of itself on behalf of its donation to the others. This word expresses a peculiar way of communion characterized by a donation without reservations and, simultaneously, without confusion.

II. Projections on the Human Way

This image of the “Absolute-communion” has had a great influence on the perception not only of God Himself but also of the whole reality. It has implied an illumination of the rest of the hermeneutic horizons wherein human being is interpreted.

Obviously, this is not about detecting ternary structures in nature and in human life. This has already been done, although without any serious value of knowledge. Whay lays deep beneath this theological tradition is the following double idea: a) There is something in common between God trine and the world, especially the human part, in such a way we can understand something about the absolute parting from our experiencial universe; and b) this idea can help us interprete nature and humanity deeply, taking into account that we understand them from their source. Thus, a “hermeneutic circularity” is produced: the created realities help us understand God and from this comprehension we come back to seize more deeply the natural and human things. In other words, the partial horizons enable us to see the absolute horizon more clearly. The latter one, which is presented as communion, makes it possible to interpret more properly the horizons that accompany the historical man.

The human walking, accompanied by various horizons of perception and sense, can be interpreted under the Trinitarian precomprehension. Nature does not find its ultimate horizon in the numerically impersonal nor in the physical or chemical forces. Nor even in a powerful explosion that may have set it into action, but in a mystery of love that expands in a prodigious universe. This process may have the traces of its movement and even biological life unfolds some aspect of the mysterious ethernal “Koinonia”.41

The human ambit is a priviledged place of Trinitarian interpretation. The particular human being, but mainly in his interrelation: human love, family, society, are matters of reading from Trinity. Considering that God is a mystery of loving relationship, the ambits of the loving integration are priviledged places for a Trinitarian hermeneutics.

This is how we speak about “Trinitarian family” and parting from it, we interpret the central experience if the human family – filiation, paternity, engagement- sensed as an echo of divine communion. For instance, the generation of a human being may be matter of study of a biologist,  the dayly experience of an obstetrician, the frame of understanding of a psichologist or teacher, and even, an interest subject for the philosopher.42 Likewise, an artist could reflect how wonderful childbirth and mother tenderness could be. They are all valuable and complementary interpretative horizons. Theology offers an ulterior perspective: the absolute is Trinitary and familiar. Thus, every birth and every familiar community have some correspondence to what God lives intimately, generating the Son, breathing out the Holy Spirit, dialoguing eternally between the three of them 43.

Social reality has also been conceived by the theological thinking from its Trinitary root. Just as the ultimate horizon is a mystery of equality in the diversity, society must be seen as an ambit of different equanimities. Inequalities do nothing but eclipse the vocation of being a Trinitary image of man in his social dimension. Furthermore, massifications and any type of collectivism make an attempt against this mission since they are ways of depersonalization: in the Trinity, the persons are themselves in plenitude, within a bond of reciprocal communion.  This is why Trinity has been called an “utopia” or “social program”. The Trinitarian horizon  guides us to an interpretation of the socio-political world that may integrate the differences in the unity. In this sense, it offers an interpretative frame which is suggestively nitid.


“Interdisciplinary”, “transdisciplinary”, and other similar terms, have value in some dimensions of the discussion about the integration of knowledge, but they need to be completed with other perspetives. In this sense, the NOMA principle is a correct delimitation of fields, not to exclude integration but to orientate it. The perspectives exposed -the hermeneutic analogy, the “analectic” and the “biographic understanding”- propose some criteria for a concrete and non syncretic worldview, considering that knowledge integration is a complex process that includes, at the same time, an objective discussion and a personal task.


1 Cf.

2 Cf. BARBOUR, IAN, When Science meets Religion. Enemies, Strangers or Partners?”, Harper San Francisco, New York 2000, pp. 17-22.

3 Op. Cit., pp.23-28.

4 Cf. JAY GOULD, STEPHEN, Ciencia versus ReligiÛn. Un falso conflicto, Drakontos Bolsillo, Barcelona 2007 (original: Rock of Ages. Science and Religion in the Fullness of Life, 1999).

5 BALI—A, LUIS, “El camino de la HermenÈutica AnalÛgica. Una conversaciÛn con Mauricio Beuchot”, Revista TeologÌa, Tomo XLIV, Nº 92, Abril 2007: 169.

6 BEUCHOT, MAURICIO, “Las ciencias humanas y la hermenÈutica (analÛgica)”, Fractal, p. 5.

7 “De esta manera se tendr· una epistemologÌa sensata. Una epistemologÌa cargada de una modestia y humildad que eviten todos aquellos proyectos -o ilusiones, m·s bien- de conocimiento completamente claro y distinto (sobre todo en las ciencias humanas), los cuales, con sus fracasos, han mostrado que tiene que llegarse a una moderaciÛn. Pero igualmente ayudar· a mostrar moderaciÛn en la renuncia a esos proyectos y expectativas. Que tambiÈn en la derrota se eviten los excesos. DespuÈs de una crisis es cuando mejor se puede levantar cabeza. Va a ser la mejor manera de replantearse el alcance y los lÌmites del conocimiento, de nuestra apropiaciÛn de la verdad, como seÒala A. Velasco GÛmez, en su artÌculo “La hermeneutizaciÛn de la filosofÌa de la ciencia contempor·nea”. (“HermenÈutica analÛgica y crisis de la modernidad”, published originally in Universidad de MÈxico (Revista de la UNAM), 567-568 (abril-mayo, 1998): 13. EdiciÛn de Nora MarÌa Matamoros Franco] Quotation: (consult: 28 April 2009).

8 Op. Cit. (translation by Lucio Florio).

9 Beuchot developped the topic of Science and Religion in the article “Ciencia, ReligiÛn y Cultura”, Angelicum vol.86, no. 1, 2009, 193-202.

10 “Adem·s, por todo lo dicho sobre «totalidades concretas» y acerca de la unidad diferenciada del ser, del saber y de la acciÛn, estimamos que el lenguaje apto para hablar interdiciplinariamente es el analÛgico. HistÛricamente la analogÌa fue un aporte dado por la teologÌa, cuando esta sumiÛ desde la fe en la creaciÛn y en la encarnaciÛn la comprensiÛn filosÛfica de la unidad diferenciada del ser como ya se ahbÌa dado en los griegos, tanto en el «pros hen» aristotÈlico. Estimamos tambiÈn que el cotejo posterior de la analogÌa con la historia y, luego, con las ciencias -especialmente humanas- y las culturas del hombre, est· actualmente ayudando a una recomprensiÛn nueva m·s profunda de la misma analogÌa. Ese ahondamiento fecunda no solamente a la teologÌa, la filosofÌa y, eventualmente, a las ciencias, sino tambiÈn y especialmente, a la comprensiÛn teÛrica el di·logo interdiciplinar entre teologÌa, filosofÌa y ciencias” (Scannone, Juan Carlos, “TeologÌa e interdisciplinariedad: presencia del saber teolÛgico en el ·mbito de las ciencias”, in: Theologicae Xaveriana 40/1 (1990) p·g. 78-79

11 “La racionalidad cientÌfico-tecnolÛgica y la racionalidad sapiencial de la cultura latinoamericana”, Stromata, 1981, pp. 155-164.

12 Cf. Op.cit., 156-157.

13 FLORIO, LUCIO, Mapa trinitario del mundo, Salamanca 2000. I have developped this topic in: “Walking in a hermeneutic territory”, en: MEISSINGER, H. – DREES, W. – LIANA, Z. (edited by), Wisdom or Knowledge. Science, Theology and Cultural Dynamic, Z., T & T Clark, London 2006, pp. 91-107. Some parts of the present communication are reproduction of that source.

14 “Hic homo singularis intelligit” (St Thomas Aquinas, De unitate intellectus contra averroistas c.3.); Hans Georg Gadamer: “ It is evident that in order to be authentic, the enquiring observation must be addressed to the thing itself so that it apprehends, so as to say, personally” (The problem of the historical conscience, Tecnos, Madrid, 1993, page 100).

15 We can talk of the “argumental character” of human life as Juli·n MarÌas did (Mapa del mundo personal, Alianza Editorial, Madrid 1994 -2da – 22).

16 “The ideas of way, travel and return have formed the Western consciente Esther Greek or Biblical. Abraham and Ulises, Eneas and Tobias return to their homeland, march towards the foundation of a new city or to the discovery of a promised land. They would stop being if they stopped marching. To be a man is to become one, managing to get to the homeland. To exist is to march towards the finish, the goal, after having discovered the way. From the Platonism of Plotinus and saint Agustine to the militant Marxism of Bloch, these two words: ‘way-homeland’,” make the human adventure make sense ( GONZ¡LEZ DE CARDEDAL, OLEGARIO, RaÌz de la esperanza, SÌgueme, Salamanca 1995, 485-486).

17 Cf. the statements of the autor of “Marcian Cronicles” about the need to conquer Mars and space in general basing it in the vastness of the cosmos and the man´s loneliness in it: BRADBURY, RAY, “Por quÈ los hombres deben ir a Marte” (Why do men must go to Mars), La NaciÛn, Buenos Aires, January 25th, 2004.

18 Cf. RICOEUR, PAUL, Temps et rÈcit, Seuil, Paris (I. 1982, II. 1984, III. 1985).

19 Cf. ARTIGAS, MARIANO, concepts of “information” in “El di·logo entre ciencia y religiÛn en la actualidad”, in URRUTIA ALBISUA, EUGENIO and BLASQUEZ ORTEGA, JUAN JOSE (edit.), Ciencia y ReligiÛn hoy. Di·logos en torno a la naturaleza, UPAEP,  Puebla 2003, 46-48.

20 Georg Steiner points out sharply that “Each language expreses the world in its own way. Each language build worlds and counterworlds in its own way” (Presencias reales, Espasa-Calpe Argentina, Buenos Aires, 1993, 75-76). Cf. IBIDEM, Grammar of Creation, Yale University Press, New Haven, 2001.

21 Cf. FERRATER MORA, JOS…, Diccionario de FilosofÌa t.1, Buenos Aires 1969, entry “Horizon” upon which I base this point.

22 Cf Ib., 872.

23 Cartesianische Meditationen, *19; Husserliana, I, 81-81; the quotation in FERRATER MORA, op. cit. 872.

24 En torno a Galileo, Obras Completas, V, 32 (quoted by FERRATER MORA, 873).

25 We follow FERRATER MORA, op cit, 873, who quotes: “Sobre la idea de la filosofÌa, I”, Revista de Occidente XXXIX (1993), esp 63-63 and 71.

As an example of interconnection between popular wisdom and religion revelation, Cf  ALONSO SCHOCKEL, LUIS, “Una oferta de sensatez. Ensayo sobre la literatura sapiencial”, en A. SCHOCKEL, L. / VILCHEZ, J., Sapienciales, I, Proverbios, Cristiandad, Madrid 1984, 17-38.

26 Verdad y MÈtodo, SÌgueme, Salamanca 2003 (Warheit und Methode, J.C.B. Mohr, Paul Siebeck, Tubingen, 4°, 1975.

27 Op. Cit., 372-373.

28 Op. Cit., 374-375. Cf. the exposition on horizon by Gadamer in G”MEZ HERAS, JOSE M., Historia y RazÛn, edit. Alhambra, Madrid 1985, 49-59.

29 As an example of interconnection between popular wisdom and religion revelation, Cf . ALONSO SCHOCKEL, LUIS, “Una oferta de sensatez. Ensayo sobre la literatura sapiencial”, en A. SCHOCKEL, L. / VILCHEZ, J., Sapienciales, I, Proverbios, Cristiandad, Madrid 1984, 17-38.

30 The expression “Art as a map of the world” in the recently dessapeared Argentinean philosopher CARMEN BALZER, Arte, fantasÌa y mundo (Art, Fantasy and World), Bs.As., Plus Ultra, 1975, where it also says: “Art posses the inalienable virtue of changing the figure of the world, because through its ordinary daily face it lets us see the most beautiful and perfect final fulfilment” (200). “…Precisely, one of the functions of the artistic fantasy is to configure an ‘image of the world’, which becomes explicit by the work/piece. This image makes the man acquire the notion of joint reality and he even manages to configure a proper `cosmovision’ of the totality. It is true that this is not an exclusive privilege of art given that it may happen with every cultural sphere. In fact, such `cosmovisions’ not only make possible the existential orientation of man, but also form the base, the fertile soil of philosophy, art and religion. Philosophy, for example, expresses this image of the world by means of a conceptual structure or machine’; whereas religion, transcribes it to the truths of faith tectonically interlocked; and art expresses it through plastic images integrated by colours, lines, space and light”.  (p. 204).

31 “After visiting a museum, you do not leave it without the same vital feeling with which you came in: if you have really experienced art, the world would have become lighter and more luminous” (GADAMER, HANS-GEORG, La actualidad de lo bello, PaidÛs, Barcelona, 1991, p. 73; orig.: Die Aktualit‰t des Schˆnen, Stuttgart 1977).

32Cf. FLORIO, LUCIO, “Ciencia y ReligiÛn. ¿Un di·logo reiniciado?”, Criterio, Nº 2331 (oct. 2007) 572-576 (;  IB., “Las ciencias naturales en la elaboraciÛn de la teologÌa. Algunas propuestas actuales”, Revista TeologÌa, Bs. As., t. XVIV, nº 94, Diciembre 2007: 551-578.

33 BOFF, CLODOVIS, Teoria do mÈtodo teolÛgico, Vozes, PetrÛpolis, 1998.

34 Cf. MOELLER, CHARLES, SabidurÌa griega y paradoja cristiana, Encuentro, Madrid 1989.

35 Cf. GONZ¡LEZ DE CARDEDAL, O., “Soldedumbre, solitud, soledad”, in: RaÌz de la esperanza, SÌgueme, Salamanca 1995, 149ss.

36 RAHNER, KARL, “El Dios Trino como principio y fundamento trascendente de la historia de la salvaciÛn”, Mysterium Salutis, t. II, Madrid (2da.) 1977, 269ss.

37 SALVATI, GUISEPPE M., “La doctrina trinitaria en la teologÌa catÛlica postconciliar. Autores y perspectivas”, Communio (Argentina) IV-2 junio 1997, p.80; cf my article “Un final de milenio trinitario”, Estudios Trinitarios vol. XXX, n.3 (1996), pp. 421-436. Cf. furthemore: GARCÕA ANDRADE, CARLOS, La Trinidad: “sotfware” de Dios. Reinstalando a Dios en la cultura occidental, Ciudad Nueva, Madrid 2000.

38 “By means of analogy, the communio-Trinitarian unity appears as a Christian way of understanding reality. In fact, the elaboration of the Trinitarian doctrine implies the overcoming of an idea of reality characterized by the pre-eminence of the substance and essence that gives way to the primacy of the person and the relationship. The ultimate reality is no longer the substance that lies in itself, but the person who is only conceivable fully in the give and take relation” (KASPER, W., El Dios de Jesucristo, 351-352).

39 “Communion is the deepest and the most founding reality” (BOFF, LEONARDO, La SantÌsima Trinidad es la mejor comunidad,, Madrid 1990, 18).

40 Cf.  DEWAILLY, L. M., “Communio-communicatio” in Revue des Sciences Philosophiques et thÈologiques, 1970, p. 46-63; and PRESTIGE, L., “‘Perijoreo’ and ‘Perijoresis’ in the Fathers”, The Journal of Theological Studies, 1928, p.242-252;  DEL CURA ELENA, SANTIAGO, entry “PerikhÛresis”, in the Dicitionary: El Dios cristiano, 1086-1094.

41 “Today’s Christian theology of creation will use, in distinction from Newton, the possibilities of the doctrine of the Trinity in order to describe the relationship of God’s transcendence and immanence in creation and in the history of salvation. Perhaps a renewed doctrine of the Trinity would combine the Logos doctrine of the ancient church with contemporary information theory and recognize the activity of the divine spirit in the self transcendence of life and its evolution“ (PANNENBERG, WOLFHART, Toward a Theology of Nature. Essays on Science and Faith, Westminster / John Knox Press Louisville, Kentucky, 1993, 65-66). Cf. EDWARDS, DENIS, The God of Evolution. A trinitarian Theology, Paulist Press, Mahwah, NJ, 1991; VANEY, NEIL, “Biodiversity and Beauty”, Pacifica 8 (1995) 335-345; PAPANICOLAU, JORGE, CristologÌa cÛsmica, EpifanÌa, Buenos Aires 2006.

42Cf. PIOSSEK PREBISCH, LUCÕA,  “Notas acerca de la mujer y la filosofÌa”, Communio (Argentina)  1 (1995), p. 45-51. Cf also: VON BALTHASAR, HANS URS, “El camino de acceso a la realidad de Dios”, en AAVV, Mysterium Salutis II, Madrid 1977 (2da.), 29-30: The child experiences in the face of the mother that the being is beutifull, good and true; at the same time, he feels reality as unity beteween him and his mother –there is neither cut nor division. The transcendentals or features of the being are, thus, perceiveded from the very first instants of life.

43Cf. NICHOLLS,  DAVID, “Images of God and the State: Political Analogy and Religious Discours”, Theological Studies 42 (1981) 195-215; FORTE, BRUNO, “Trinidad cristiana y realidad social”, Estudios trinitarios 3 (1987) 393-394; GUTI…RREZ, GUSTAVO, “PresentaciÛn de la tesis”, en La verdad los har· libres. Confrontaciones, Inst. BartolomÈ de las Casas, Lima 1986, 17s.;  SILANES, NEREO, La SantÌsima Trinidad, programa social del Cristianismo. Principios bÌblico-teolÛgicos, Secretariado Trinitario, Salamanca 1991; CAMB”N, ENRIQUE, La Trinidad, modelo social, Ciudad Nueva, Madrid 2000.