Lekka-Kowalik - Science and the Future of Religion


Additional Information

Category Lecture
Speakers Lekka-Kowalik, Agnieszka
Year 2023


A popular thesis suggests that religion can and should be replaced by science. This thesis is formulated in the name of human rationality and cognitive aspirations to describe, explain, and control the world. Since the title terms denote many referents, I analyse the project as the idea of replacing Christianity with natural and social sciences. From the point of view of that project, religion may play important roles in culture but has nothing to do with the truth and understanding of reality. Yet, precisely from the point of view of human rationality, such a project is neither feasible nor desirable. To argue for this thesis, I first explain what "replacing” means and describe the project and its intellectual origins. Then I develop three arguments: a) the project is based on a priori presuppositions and therefore it is dogmatic, which is against the spirit of science; b) if the project is carried out, there would be no answers to fundamental human questions; c) sciences themselves formulate questions which they are not able to answer (trans-scientific questions), but for which religion may provide rational solutions. Religion considered in the light of the above arguments turns out to be a defender of reason. Thus, evaluating the project from the point of view of human rationality and cognitive aspirations, one must claim that sciences cannot replace religion and attempts to do so bring unwelcome consequences.

AGNIESZKA LEKKA-KOWALIK is Professor of Philosophy at the John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin (KUL). She has an MSc in chemistry, a PhD and habilitation in philosophy. From 1993 to 1996 she was associate researcher at the Université de Neuchâtel. She joined the KUL, Faculty of Philosophy in 1997. Since 2011 she has served as the Chair of the Department of the Methodology of Sciences, she was Vice Dean in 2009-2012, Vice Rector in 2012-2013. Since 2021 she has been vice-president of the Polish Association for Technology Assessment and since May 2021 a member of the working group for fundamental values of the Bologna Follow-up Group (BFUG). Her research areas include philosophy and methodology of science, research ethics, philosophy and ethics of technology, AI and computer ethics, and practical logic. She has published seven books (author or editor), over 120 papers, and 72 entries. Her recent works in English include: Morality in the AI World, Law and Business 1 (2021) 44-49; Technology Analysis and the Need of a Value Framework, in P. Hąbek (ed.), Multidisciplinary Aspects of Production Engineering, Warszawa 2021, 421-430; Academia in the Grip of the Wolf and Its Utopia, Minerva 60 (2022) 139-158. She has contributed 59 talks at international conferences, 48 invited lectures in the USA and Europe, and has made research visits at the University of Buffalo (USA); the University of Leeds (UK); the University of Navarra (Spain); and St Thomas University (USA).