«Sophia» X (2018)

Table of Contents and Abstracts: Issues 1 e 2

«Sophia», X (2018/1)


Editoriale (A. Clemenzia - P. Coda)




Cosmology between Science and Philosophy (Sergio Rondinara)

Abstract: By an attentive methodological, epistemological and meta-scientific reading of scientific cosmology, we grasp to what extent our concept of the universe is philosophical and to what extent our deeper intellectual understanding of it derives essentially from recognizing that it is at the same time both a scientific and philosophical problem. Moreover, the fact that the universe is now a field of inquiry of modern science necessarily constrains science to rediscover that exchange it had with philosophy at the beginning of its adventure.

Keywords: cosmology – science – philosophy – universe

Read full article in Italian: «Sophia» X (2018-1) 13-28

Israel and the History of the Covenant (Giovanna Maria Porrino)

Abstract: The story told by the biblical authors is above all a theological story. The author, or the redactor drawing on the oral traditions, knowingly narrates a story that unfolds under the gaze of God who guides the events of human history. The article covers some fundamental and foundational stages of the history of the people of Israel as narrated by Scripture, going from Abraham to Moses, and the creation of the world and Man to a prophetic and apocalyptic eschatology. History begins with creation, which because of the initial disobedience is a history that sees the continuous intervention of God anticipating a future salvation in Jesus of Nazareth. Human history will find its complete fulfilment at the end of time, with the advent of new heavens and a new earth.

Keywords: Biblical exegesis – Israel – Old Testament – creation – covenant – Biblical theology

Read full article in Italian: «Sophia» X (2018-1) 29-41

Do Robots Think Like We Do? (Paul O’Hara)

Abstract: It is popular nowadays in many science fiction books and films to depict androids and robots as almost human and in some cases better than humans. This article makes the case that androids and robots are always machines and as such can never become human no matter how much they are made to assimilate human characteristics.

Keywords: artificial intelligence – anthropology – epistemology –  philosophy

Read full article in English: «Sophia» X (2018-1) 43-55

Christian Anthropology: A Biblical Perspective (Gérard Rossé)

Abstract: The article wants to show the importance of Jesus in himself, as true God and true man, as presented by Revelation. The author tries to understand how both of these extremes are essential in the life of Jesus. As Son he undertakes an integral human journey and conducts it towards an end that is the realization of the human being. And from this point on, Jesus inaugurates authentic man and opens him to the Eschaton.

Keywords: anthropology – Biblical exegesis – Sacred Scripture – Jesus – eschatology

Read full article in Italian: «Sophia» X (2018-1) 57-67

Il Big Bang e l’ecclesiologia (Alessandro Clemenzia)

Abstract: The present article explores how the Big Bang might contribute to our ecclesial self-awareness. While maintaining a clear distinction between the scientific and theological approaches to avoid any possibility of Concordism, the author explains how the theory of the Big Bang is a “cue” to understanding and exploring the nature of the Church. In other words, by homing in on its origin, the author recovers within the historical “variability” that fixed point that gave rise and continues to give rise to the Church.

Key words: cosmology – ecclesiology – Church – ecclesiogenesis

Read full article in Italian: «Sophia» X (2018-1) 69-80


From the Big Bang to the Big Mystery: Scientific, Philosophical and Theological Perspectives

The Forum contains some of the papers presented at the Symposium organized in commemoration of the centenary of the birth of Piero Pasolini (1917 – 2017): From the Big Bang to the Big Mystery: Artistic, Scientific, Philosophical and Theological Perspectives. Gathered here are the contributions of the anthropologist Brendan Purcell, Genesis’ True Story of the Mysterious Origins of Humankind; scientists Daniele Spadaro, Gabriel Ferrero and Luca Fiorani, The evolution of matter in the Universe: a cosmic history; theologian Albino Dell’Eva, Piero Pasolini: a Pioneer of a Culture of Unity

Genesis’ True Story of the Mysterious Origins of Humankind (Brendan Purcell)

Abstract: The Genesis story of Adam and Eve is discussed within the context of human origins as presented by evolution and the Church’s teaching on Original Sin. The article points out that human existence cannot be explained simply by natural selection but requires a series of “major Big Bangs” that go beyond the natural or biological sciences.

Keywords: evolution – Genesis – creation – original sin – science

Read full article in English: «Sophia»X (2018-1) 83-95

The Evolution of Matter in the Universe: A Cosmic Story (Daniele Spadaro, Gabriel Ferrero e Luca Fiorani)

Abstract: The evolution of matter is a fascinating story that captures the mystery of the universe. The birth of the light elements is followed by the spectacular death of the massive stars that fertilizes interstellar space with heavier nuclei. On observing these phenomena, we ask if the evolution of the universe develops according to what Piero Pasolini calls “the cybernetic principle,” a principle which causes it to acquire an always more elevated level of complexity and organization.

Keywords: evolution – Piero Pasolini – cosmology – science – philosophy – universe

Read full article in Italian: «Sophia» X (2018-1) 97-108

Piero Pasolini: A Pioneer of a Culture of Unity (Albino Dell’Eva)

Abstract: This article presents Piero Pasolini. Through his writings, the principle steps in his biography and the cultural setting in which he lived are brought to light to show the cosmovision that he progressively achieved by means of a rigorous and authentic dialog between cosmology, anthropology and theology.

Keywords: Piero Pasolini – science – theology – anthropology – evolution – cosmology

Read full article in Italian: «Sophia» X (2018-1) 109-121


Catherine Belzung

Abstract: Catherine Belzung, a French neurobiologist, delivered the keynote address under the auspices of the Sophia University Institute as part of the Cattedre di Sophia series on November 29 2013: Scientific Research and dialogical thought. A journey through the neurosciences. Sergio Rondinara, professor of epistemology at the Sophia University Institute and Thierry Magnin, rector of the Catholic University of Lyon, introduce her lecture, calling attention to the merits of such an interdisciplinary approach.

Key words: neuroscience – neurobiology – epistemology – philosophy – science

Read the articles in italiano: «Sophia» X (2018-1) 123-153

Sergio Rondinara, A Significant Experience of Interdisciplinary Dialogue in Neuroscience (124-125)

Thierry Magnin, The Search for Unity in the Fruitful Diversity of Approaches (126-127)

Catherine Belzung, Scientific Research and Dialogical Thinking: Paths among Neurosciences (128-153)


«Sophia», X (2018/2)


Editorial (P. Frizzi)




The Sunset of the Sacred: Europe and Christianity (Vincenzo Vitiello)

Abstract: The author develops an interesting line of argument, starting with that philosophical thrust which has formed and animated the European spirit since its beginning; it is characterized by an unsettling question constantly searching for reality’s meaning. He explains in an original way how to understand the relationship between Europe and Christianity in the light of the crucial problem of our time – meaning openness to the other, recognizing his/her identity.

Keywords: philosophy – religion – otherness – identity – Pauline Letters – Sacred – Europe

Read the full article in Italian: «Sophia» X (2018-2) 169-184

Identity Models in Multicultural Europe (Adriano Fabris)

Abstract: If we wish to speak of Europe as a community (the so called European Community) it is first necessary to clarify the meaning of the term. What is the meaning of the European identity within the social and religious context of other cultures? In this article, we reflect on three meanings of the word identity: the closed identity (like a wall), the reflected identity (as in a mirror), and the open identity. We will argue that only the experience of an open identity can permit European populations to adequately confront contemporary problems.

Keywords: philosophy – politics – Europe – identity – multiculturality – religions – culture

Read the full article in Italian: «Sophia» X (2018-2) 185-196

Hospitable Otherness: For a Re-approximation to Europe (Pasquale Ferrara)

Abstract: This article underlines the “sovereign moment” characteristic of the current phase of European Union integration. In reality, the predominance of national interests over the European framework has, from the beginning, been a thorn in the side. Nevertheless, today a new dynamic is underway. Fault lines (such as North/South or East/West) are again re-emerging in Europe in the form of “polarized introversion.” We are not yet witnessing the demise of democracy in the strict sense but we are in a subtler way seeing its decline or hollowing out. Outwardly, Europe is stuck in a syndrome of “reticent extroversion”, implying its inability to transform the “neighborhood policy” into an authentic “policy of proximity.” There is an “implicit” and undeclared secession of European citizens from the union; the detachment concerns not so much the institutions, but the policies, which, at times, are perceived not only as inadequate but even as hostile. The center of the European crisis lies not in its unwillingness to welcome others (the immigrants, the refugees, the marginalized) but in its having “unlearned” the virtue of mutual hospitality. Indeed, the political history of contemporary Europe can be narrated entirely from the perspective of “xenopolitics” that is from the point of view of being rejected or of trying to draw near to one another.

Keywords: politics – Europe – immigration – refugees – hospitality

Read the full article in Italian: «Sophia» X (2018-2) 197-210

The Volk is back? Reflections for a Multicultural and Inclusive Europe (Chiara Galbersanini)

Abstract: Faced with a multicultural Europe in which new cultural and religious minorities are part of the social and economic fabric of national communities, we address the question of what is necessary for a new social cohesion and political unity. By going beyond the ideal of a Nation State based on a shared ethos of language, history, culture and religion as the unifying element, we consider cultural diversity as a new and more inclusive juridical value on which to base European Union integration.

Keywords: human rights – Europe – multiculturality – politics

Read full article in Italian: «Sophia» X (2018-2) 211-221

In Search of a New Institutional Dimension of European Entegration (Vincenzo Buonomo)

Abstract: In the European institutional model, the identity crisis is not about economic integration or border security or a structured plan of integration. The insecurity touches on fundamental values such as respect for human dignity, freedom, democratic pluralism, the rule of law, equality and fundamental human rights. The process of integration is in crisis and as a consequence touches upon peace, development, security, legal cooperation, the protection of human rights, the free movement of people, the creation of a common market and the creation of an economic and monetary union. This is in accordance with some basic principles such as the allocation of powers, subsidiarity, proportionality and sincere cooperation between the Member States and the Union. These principles cannot withstand the impact of post-globalization. The way forward is by recovering the European identity.

Keywords: human rights – equality – identity – Europe – government – integration – immigration – Lisbon Treaty

Read the full article in Italian: «Sophia» X (2018-2) 223-235

Solidarity in EU’s Asylum Policy: A Difficult but Necessary Pathway (Maria Esther Salamanca-Aguado)

Abstract: In 2015 the European Union (EU) experienced an unprecedented influx of refugees and migrants (the socalled “the migration crisis”). The European Union and its Member States were not sufficiently prepared to respond effectively. The integrity of both the Common European Asylum System (CEAS) and of the Schengen area of free movement for European citizens were put into question. In the European Agenda on Migration (2015) the European Commission set out both shortand long-term solidarity measures for EU action. The aim of this work is primarily to examine how the principle of solidarity has been understood in the context of the EU’s asylum policy (part 2) and how it has been implemented internally – between Member States- (part 3) and externally – with third countries – (part 4). Some essential criteria for the current debate on the future of the CEAS are expounded upon in the conclusions (part 5).

Key words: solidariety – immigration – Schengen – right of asylum – law

Read the full article in English: «Sophia» X (2018-2) 237-264

The “Rule of Law” and the European Union (Paolo Giusta)

Abstract: Since the Schuman declaration of 1950, the rule of law has been a cornerstone of the European integration process and of the EU legal order. This founding principle, progressively enshrined in the EU treaties, showed its vitality by acting as an attracting force for new Member States, not necessarily coming from democratic experiences before joining the EU and has obliged the EU institutions to show creativity and determination when faced with rule of law’s crises in the Member States, until the recent proposal by the Commission to tie EU funding to respecting the rule of law in EU Member States.

Keywords: Europe – immigration – integration – law – politics

Read the full article in Italian: «Sophia» X (2018-2) 265-279

A Values-based Citizens’ Europe (Léonce Bekemans)

Abstract: In a complex and rapidly changing global order continuous political courage, inspiration and citizencentric practices are needed to shape and strengthen the values that are connected with the EU. We clearly affirm the value premises of the EU as a community responsible for security and stability and for guaranteeing the welfare and well-being of its citizens. The paper is structured in three parts: The first part focusses on the importance of citizens’ participation and citizens’dialogue in the future developments of the EU. Growing complexity and interconnection between and within societies have become intrinsic characteristics of European societies, impacting the dialogue of institutions with citizens. In a second part we deal with participatory democracy and civil dialogue as legally embedded concepts in the Lisbon Treaty. This implies an analysis and assessment of the phased development of EU practices in participatory democracy and civil dialogue. The last part concerns the instruments and practices of participatory governance that the EU has developed to respond to the citizens’ demands for a more values-based community.

Keywords: citizenship – politics – Europe – government – partecipation – Lisbon Treaty – values

Read the full article in English: «Sophia» X (2018-2) 281-304

The European Union at 60: On Perceptions and Significance (Annette Balaoing - Jacques Pelkmans)

Abstract: Sixty years from the start of European integration, various perceptions on its significance as well as its shortcomings abound. We address the key themes in the European debate, including those that have helped build the momentum towards BREXIT. Paradoxically, the impending exit of the UK from the EU has underlined the numerous benefits of membership, which many have long taken for granted. We examine the benefits of the EU by (1) emphasizing its values, (2) its role in the world, (3) the delicate balance between the EU and national regulatory autonomy. While many of the disillusions amongst the EU citizens contain a grain of truth, the question remains whether a peaceful, consensual and democratic process of integration between as many as 28 countries can realistically be expected to go fast forward and without controversies. This paper is an attempt to inform the current debate by examining the EU’s key failings, as well as its fundamental value for the achievement of the European common good.

Keywords: economics – Europe – integration – Brexit – politics

Read the full article in English: «Sophia» X (2018-2) 305-322

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