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Sextus Empiricus 'Against the Astrologers'

 
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lihin



Joined: 14 Dec 2009
Posts: 470
Location: Mount Kailash

Posted: Sun May 19, 2013 10:40 am    Post subject: Sextus Empiricus 'Against the Astrologers' Reply with quote

Good morning,

Sextus Empiricus was a 2nd century CE Hellenistic philosopher who like a high tide washed away the magnificent intellectual sandcastles others constructed, elaborated and defended. His work includes 'Against the Astrologers', Book V of the compendium

Against the Professors published in a nice, reasonably priced bi-lingual edition in the Loeb Classical Library.

As many powerful and erudite persons, ex. gr. theologians, academics and astrologers, then and today, are engaged in the business of selling, maintaining, elaborating or (rarely) building intellectual sandcastles for their livelihoods and powers, Sextus Empiricus has not been amongst the most popular philosophers.

His short summary of Hellenistic natal astrology (he excludes ex. gr. meterorological astrology from the scope of his critique) at the beginning of the book is the most succinct and accurate i have yet encountered. His arguments are difficult to refute.

In my humble opinion Sextus Empiricus' 'Against the Astrologers' should be required reading for all those interested in astrology.

Best regards,

lihin
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Geoffrey



Joined: 09 Jul 2012
Posts: 380
Location: Scottish Borders

Posted: Mon May 20, 2013 5:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

All is not lost! The antidote to Sextus Empiricus' Pyrrhonism is logical postivism, which is the philosophical foundation to the scientific method - and astrology too as it is a 'science'.
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lihin



Joined: 14 Dec 2009
Posts: 470
Location: Mount Kailash

Posted: Mon May 20, 2013 7:01 am    Post subject: Something missed? Reply with quote

Good morning,

Unless i have misunderstood something, which is quite possible, whilst reading Sextus Empiricus, to assert for example that 'no true knowledge is possible' is yet another dogmatic assertion and thus not the attitude of real sceptics. Moreover, to me the painstaking efforts of many to label intellectual phenomena as quickly as possible as 'positivism', 'pyrrhonism' or some other 'ism' indicate human minds' fearful attachments to schemata, to sandcastles.

But this leads to discussions that would possibly better be placed in the philosophy section of the forum.

Getting back to the content of Against the Astrologers, the opening introductory sections of Klaudios Ptolomaios Tetrabiblos (written before Sextus Empiricus) address some but by no means all of the latter's critiques, for example in emphasising that judicial astrological items (general) prevail over natal ones (particular).

On the other hand, 'rectification' of event times of astrological charts would seem to be one of the strongest validations of Sextus Empiricus' critiques. Each astrologer practising such rectifications assumes that certain events have matched or should match certain timing techniques, ex. gr. primary and / or secondary directions, transits, solar revolutions, and rectifies accordingly. If his astrological toolbox changes or the tools are calibrated differently, the resulting rectified times shift as well.

Best regards,

lihin
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