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The Philosophy of Astrology

 
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Mike



Joined: 19 Jul 2007
Posts: 72

Posted: Mon Jul 23, 2007 11:44 pm    Post subject: The Philosophy of Astrology Reply with quote

Some faith based astrologers think that the positions of the heavenly bodies influence the destiny of mankind. More sophisticated and scientific astrologers say only that there is a correlation between what happens in the sky with the events on this planet. What is your position?
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kerenhappuch



Joined: 07 Jul 2005
Posts: 396
Location: UK

Posted: Tue Jul 24, 2007 8:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

And what is the difference between these two standpoints, exactly?

My position is that faith/science both have the same viewpoint. The only way to tell them apart is that they use different words to describe the same thing.

Cat among pigeons: go!

Keren
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Ficina
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Posted: Tue Jul 24, 2007 9:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Both viewpoints share the belief that what happens in the sky has a symbolic meaning. That's a belief, not a scientific fact.

It's usually non-astrologers and sceptics who seem to think that astrologers believe that the planets influence our destiny. To me, that smacks of superstition. Correlation, or two-way reflection, is the astrologers' standpoint surely? As above, so below; as below, so above....

Who are the cats and who are the pigeons? Wink
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Mike



Joined: 19 Jul 2007
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Posted: Tue Jul 24, 2007 7:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree astrology is faith based, it is not a science.
It's more like a complex belief system or religion,
that's very dynamic and subject to multiple interpretations.
And it's true correlation is not what astrologers think, they
belief in their astro gods that are the rulers of all.
Astrology is the religion of educated people.
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Morpheus



Joined: 21 Mar 2007
Posts: 764
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Posted: Tue Jul 24, 2007 9:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I agree astrology is faith based, it is not a science.
It's more like a complex belief system or religion,


Tetrabiblos by Ptolemy, makes an interesting study. Have you read it? Ptolemy builds or tries to build the planetary properties etc on the basis of astronomical solar model used/understood at that time.
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Coder



Joined: 14 Dec 2004
Posts: 143

Posted: Tue Jul 24, 2007 11:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My position is that's like the weather.

Wherever you are, it's there. Sometimes good, sometimes bad. Sometimes you get wet - especially without waterproof clothes - or worse (floods). Sometimes you get burnt - especially without sunscreen - or worse (fires). It's useful to prepare for it - but you dont have to be an astrologer to do that - or need one. Usually it won't stop you doing what you want to do. Mostly you don't need to know about it in any great detail.

And, like the weather, oh my, it's a perpetual source of interest (and equal misunderstanding).
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Ficina
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Posted: Wed Jul 25, 2007 7:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Astrology deserves better than to be condemned to the superstitious realms of "faith" and "religion". As Noel Tyl once said, astrology isn't something to believe in; it's something to know about. I guess that's why it's called astrology rather than astroism Smile
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Deb
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Posted: Wed Jul 25, 2007 10:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think your initial premise is faulty. It assumes that astrologers see their study as either a science or an art, when most astrologers accept it as being something between the two because they recognise that it is not exclusively either.

Quote:
Some faith based astrologers think that the positions of the heavenly bodies influence the destiny of mankind.


The phrase ‘destiny of mankind’ is quite evocative. Most astrologers believe that astrology is relevant to the future of human events at an individual and collective level, regardless of whether they recognise it as fundamentally symbolic, or whether they are the “more sophisticated” scientific type. And of course, most think it is about more than human events, in seeing it as an holistic study.

But first, explain why those who lean most heavily towards a scientific explanation are the “more sophisticated”? Many astrologers start off thinking that astrology follows strict scientific principles, but they come to realise that the defines of science are inadequate for a study that touches upon issues of creativity, universal design, and whether an individual life has purpose and meaning. What you see as ‘faith-based’ may be more sophisticated, in accepting that symbolism expresses intelligence, and in being curious about what that intelligence may be.

Quote:
I agree astrology is faith based, it is not a science. …
And it's true correlation is not what astrologers think, they
belief in their astro gods that are the rulers of all.



I believe that this is what you believe, but it is not what I believe. There are many demonstrably scientific principles within astrology, and many more principles that –whilst unable to be proven by science – have led to the development of science. The evolution of mathematics and engineering was boosted by the belief that spatial relationships and numbers demonstrate qualities as well as quantities, allowing Pythagoras to develop equations based on symbolic number theory, and Kepler to develop laws of planetary motion out of his symbolic understanding. The scientific investigation into the effects of planetary arrangements is something I applaud, but we need to keep an open mind and realise that the best that conventional science can achieve may be little more than verifying what seems to have been intuitively known by ancient cultures.
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ChrisK



Joined: 06 Jul 2006
Posts: 33
Location: Toronto, Canada

Posted: Wed Jul 25, 2007 3:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is an interesting question.

I can see what Michael is driving at here with the astrology as 'religion for the educated' but I think it may be more specifically linked to a nostalgic middle-class romantic worldview which is as it happens, correlated with university education. (I include myself in this group, fwiw) While some astrologers believe everything in astrology without much in the way of evidence, others are more discriminating and regard it more in logico-scientific terms.

The maxim "as above, so below" is widely held to form the basis of most astrologers beliefs, no matter which kind of astrology they may practice. And yet, this is a matter of interpretation.

This concept is not a law, but an assertion, the result of centuries of observation and reflection. But is it actually true? Many astrologers seem to treat it as if it were a law, ie. that all planetary positions do have an Earthly manifestation whether we can observe it or not. Many will then make quantum leaps of faith an impute significance to planetary motion based on purely subjective experience or limited evidence. The results are usually unconvincing and reflect the achilles heel of astrology today, namely, that most people who go into astrology are drawn to its aesthetic and spiritual dimensions and are uninterested and incapable to moving the body of astrological knowledge forward.

Although I am a practicing astrologer, I take a more skeptical view of the maxim . Although some correlations are undeniable IME, things do not always work out as one would think. As we know all too well, astrology is not an exact science. Our knowledge is partial at best. Similarly, the ancients were not infallible, as a quick survey of their scientific knowledge soon reveals. But as sympathetic interpreters of astrological tradition, I see the modern astrologer's job as a task of critical re-examination where once the principles are learned, they are subjected to testing without prejudice. As astrologers, we need to reclaim "skepticism" as a useful position in the assessment of astrological principles.
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ChrisK



Joined: 06 Jul 2006
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Location: Toronto, Canada

Posted: Wed Jul 25, 2007 4:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ficina wrote:
Astrology deserves better than to be condemned to the superstitious realms of "faith" and "religion". As Noel Tyl once said, astrology isn't something to believe in; it's something to know about. I guess that's why it's called astrology rather than astroism Smile


Agreed, and yet "knowing" is a subjective condition. One person's knowing is another person's invalid superstition or religious belief. Perhaps we are the target of more ridicule because astrologers mistakenly believe it qualifies as knowledge even though it clearly doesn't pass muster according to the mainstream scientific standards. Religious groups, by contast don't claim their beliefs have a scientific belief but are rather within the realm of faith. Of course, that is also a form of knowledge.
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Tumbling Sphinx



Joined: 02 Jan 2005
Posts: 247

Posted: Fri Jul 27, 2007 3:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
"it is not a science."


How can something that is actually based on science, that encapsulates all the 'sciences', eg. astrophysics, geophysics etc, not be a science? This is suggestive that only the surface interpretive dimension of astrology is being considered.

From NM Swerdlow, Professor in Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of Chicago in "Babylonian Theory of the Planets":

Quote:
".. the systematic collection of celestial and meteorological omens as carried out in Mesopotamia required a systematic study of celestial & meteorological phenomena ... the collection and the interpretation of omens must be regarded as a science, in fact, as the first and most important science of antiquity...


" ... the Diaries as a whole are among the most extraordinary achievements in the entire history of science ...originally extending from the 8th-7th centuries [BC] to the 1st century [AD], (they) are by far the longest continuous scientific research, or should we say, a record of the longest continous scientific research of any kind in all of history, for modern science itself has existed for only half as long.


" ... nothing more clearly shows the scientific spirit of the Scribes, their principal science being the interpretation of omens, than this systematic collection of information, understood to be vital to the welfare of the kingdom, on a scale not seen again until the statistical and economic surveys of modern states in the 18th and 19th centuries.."



From Francesca Rochberg, "The Heavenly Writing - Divination, Horoscopy and Astronomy in Mesoptamian Culture":


Quote:
"One cannot find in Mesopotamian society a comparable institutional separation between the two enterprises of "science" and "religion". Mesopotamian scribal scholarship supported a wide diversity of textual forms and content, including divination of all kinds (celestial being only one), mathematics, observation and predictive or theoretical astronomy.


"To imagine that celestial omen literature provided some sort of ground out of which prediction of phenomena came to be a new and scientific goal and a new kind of thinking merely recasts an outmoded historiography.


"Until the relatively recent turn away from the pervasive influence of the logical positivists on historians of science, when the model of western science provided the standard against which all other sciences would be judged, the ancient Greeks were assumed to be the inventors of science.


"In the history of astronomy, the recovery of the civilizations of the ancient Near East eventually necessitated the updating of the view of Greek astronomical science by an acknowledgement of the Greek debt to their near Eastern predecessors. Specifically, Greek astronomy came to be seen to depend in significant ways on technical details borrowed from the Babylonian tradition.


Personally, I don't see "skepticism" as being particularly useful or constructive, skepticism usually being a negative mindset that undermines, an attitude of systematic doubt that seeks to assert some level of control over efforts to understand that which is yet to be fully understood and appreciated.

Learning by rote & repetition is one way of learning and corroborating, however it usually fails to address the 'why' ... nor do I see skepticism as being in the true spirit of science or astrology.

Granted, skepticism may be a transitory phase in the sciences as Jupiter transits constellation Scorpio making itself known through the western tropical sign of Sagittarius.
This in itself presenting an opportunity to dig deeper ... and as an aside, it's probably worth keeping an eye on Mars as it challenges Saturn and transits Algol with this Full Moon, then opposes Jupiter conjoining Antares (forces accumulating in SE opposing NW) leading into Lunar Eclipse on 28th August, followed by the partial solar eclipse on Sept. 11.

Guess I should probably also mention I consider skepticism as being different to discernment. As a negative, turned on itself, skepticism would question that skepticism is a valid perspective at all.

However, I also tend to view the combination of "free will" to be something of an oxymoron. Once "free" is attached to something ... such as a legacy (will) or a desire propelling forward momentum ... "free" ceases ... until perhaps that time able to transcend one's own genetic etc legacy. Every choice made is a determination in the constantly shifting sands of time. Choice being a correlation that also has causes and effects.

Knowing may be subjective, but it also involves education ... and these days education is far more widely available than it once was via innovations such as the internet. Also involves discernment.
I think faith is fine unless its blind, can keep people on track until deeper understandings blossom in whatever area of practice - it's not exclusive to astrology. There's an element of "faith" at play in all the "sciences", from medicine to astrology and astrophysics etc.
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Mike



Joined: 19 Jul 2007
Posts: 72

Posted: Sun Jul 29, 2007 1:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Personally, I don't see "skepticism" as being particularly useful or constructive, skepticism usually being a negative mindset that undermines, an attitude of systematic doubt that seeks to assert some level of control over efforts to understand that which is yet to be fully understood and appreciated.


I think you are right about skepticism. I didn't adopt a skeptical
attitude because I didn't admire or respect astrology. The reason
is that I wanted to start a debate on this forum, however I think
I made a mistake of talking bad about astrology for my selfish
purpose of debating.
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