Logica Universalis

, Volume 13, Issue 4, pp 457–466 | Cite as

Non-monotonic Logic and the Compatibility of Science and Religion

  • Marcin TrepczyńskiEmail author


The article aims to show how the acceptance of non-monotonic logic enables arguments to be held between science and religion in a way that does not exclude either of these two spheres. The starting point of the analyses is the idea of the 13th century Danish philosopher, Boethius of Dacia, who states that it is both acceptable that: (1) a natural scientist negates that the world had a beginning, and (2) a Christian theologian asserts that the world had a beginning, because each of them is basing their statements on the principles of their respective discipline: the first on the principles of nature, and the latter on knowledge supplemented by divine revelation. What is more, analogically: (3) a metaphysician, when limited to his principles, cannot settle the issue, as he takes into account supranatural beings and their powers, but cannot know what God or another powerful supranatural would have decided in a such a case. The paper shows that Boethius’s approach: (1) violates the rule of monotonicity, (2) cannot be finally interpreted in terms of classical logic and (3) assumes certain non-monotonic logic as its inference framework. Other presented examples of arguments between religious beliefs and the statements of natural science are resolved in the same way. Thus, it is shown how non-monotonic thinking allows us to seriously treat both scientific and religious inference as compatible.


Non-monotonic reasoning Non-monotonic logic Science and religion Science and theology Boethius of Dacia 

Mathematics Subject Classification

Primary 03A05 Secondary 03B42 03B60 03B65 



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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of PhilosophyUniversity of WarsawWarsawPoland

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