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"If man is capable of altering physical things with his freedom, God cannot be 'forbidden' to do the same, in a higher way".

The Full Professor emeritus of Philosophy, Juan José Sanguineti, gave the VI Mariano Artigas Memorial Lecture at the University of Navarra.


28 | 09 | 2021

"If man is capable of altering physical things with his freedom, God cannot be 'forbidden' to do the same, in a higher way". This was affirmed at the University of Navarra by Professor Juan José Sanguineti, Full Professor emeritus of Philosophy of the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross (Rome).

The expert gave the 6th Mariano Artigas Memorial Lecture, organised by the academic centre's group de research 'Science, Reason and Faith' (CRYF), and focused his exhibition on 'How does God act in casual events?

In his speech he first examined the nature of chance and its relevance in nature. Subsequently, he raised the topic of God's action in the world, especially his providence and its possible relation to chance; and he considered this problematic first in Thomas Aquinas and then in some authors who are protagonists of contemporary debates. Finally, he drew some conclusions.

Among them he stressed that "phenomena of strict chance, such as fortuitous encounters, favourable or not, are caused by God as the first 'Cause' who wills a world with coincidences". And he pointed out that God has created a contingent world in which he can intervene with a wide freedom in the respect of natural laws "with purposes oriented to the good of human persons, willed by God more directly than any other natural thing".

He recalled that "nature is rigorous, but not absolute". He added: "It is unreasonable to think of a physical universe completely closed to an action of God that can transcend physical laws, when man himself organises things, with art and technology, in a way that goes beyond what these physical laws dictate".

Professor Sanguineti, Full Professor and author of about a hundred scientific papers

Juan José Sanguineti holds a doctorate in Philosophy and Letters from the University of Navarra and Full Professor emeritus from the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross (Rome). He is the author of more than sixteen books and about a hundred scientific articles, especially on the topics of Philosophy of nature, Philosophy of science, cosmology, Philosophy of knowledge, Philosophy of the mind and neuroscience.

This is the sixth edition of the Memorial Lecture, which began in 2011 and is held every two years. Historians such as William Shea and John Brooke, scientists such as Karl Giberson and Tanzella-Nitti and philosophers such as Juan Arana have participated.