Science, Epistemology and Astrology
By Garry Phillipson
developments in science – particularly quantum
theory – have been taken by some astrologers
to herald a paradigm shift which would make it possible
to validate and explain astrology as a science. The
suggestion is made that this case is currently unconvincing.
The realist (or foundationalist) model is considered
as a philosophical tradition, with particular reference
to Descartes. It is proposed that this tradition underpins
much of the sceptical case against astrology (illustrated
by reference to the work of Dean, Ertel, Kelly, Mather
and Smit); but that its claims to provide a comprehensively
explanatory model have been undermined by modern science.
Two models of astrology – as an empirical science,
and as divination – are considered. It is argued
that modern science does make a contribution to the
understanding of astrology; but that this is more
relevant to astrology as a divinatory art than as
a hard science.
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