Abstract: Many astrologers attribute a successful birth-chart reading to what they call intuition or psychic ability,where the birth chart acts like a crystal ball. As in shamanism,they relate consciousness to a transcendent reality that,if true, might require are-assessment of present biological theories of consciousness.In Western countries roughly 1 person in 10,000 is practising or seriously studying astrology, so their total number is substantial. Many tests of astrologers have been made since the 1950s but only recently has a coherent review (...) been possible. A large-scale test of persons born less than five minutes apart found no hint of the similarities predicted by astrology. Meta-analysis of more than forty controlled studies suggests that astrologers are unable to perform significantly better than chance even on the more basic tasks such as predicting extraversion. More specifically,astrologers who claim to use psychic ability perform no better than those who do not. The possibility that astrology might be relevant to consciousness and psi is not denied, but such influences, if they exist in astrology,would seem to be very weak or very rare. -/- . (shrink)
Using astrology as a case study, this paper attempts to establish a criterion for demarcating science from pseudoscience. Numerous reasons for considering astrology to be a pseudoscience are evaluated and rejected; verifiability and falsifiability are briefly discussed. A theory is said to be pseudoscientific if and only if (1) it has been less progressive than alternative theories over a long period of time, and faces many unsolved problems, but (2) the community of practitioners makes little attempt to develop (...) the theory towards solutions of the problems, shows no concern for attempts to evaluate the theory in relation to others, and is selective in considering confirmations and disconfirmations. This criterion has the interesting consequence that a theory can be scientific at one time but pseudoscientific at another. (shrink)
Summary This paper offers a positive identification of Sahl ibn Bishr's Kit?b al-? a?k?m ?al? ?n-ni?ba al-falakiyya as the Arabic source text for what is perhaps the most characteristic feature of the medieval Perso-Indian style of astrology known as t?jika: the sixteen yogas or types of planetary configurations. The dependence of two late sixteenth-century t?jika works in Sanskrit ? N?laka??ha's T?jikan?laka??h? and Ga?e?a's T?jikabh??a?a ? on Sahl, presumably through one or more intermediary texts, is demonstrated by a comparison of (...) the terminology and examples employed; and the Indian reception of Arabic astrology is discussed, including reinterpretations of technical terms occasioned partly by corrupt transmission. (shrink)
Professor Westman’s reply need be considered only briefly. When I received for review The Copernican Question, Prognostication, Skepticism, and Celestial Order, with its superlative commendations, I believed I had in my hands a book of surpassing erudition, the culmination of more than forty years of study by one of the world’s greatest experts on Copernicus and the astronomy and astrology of the Renaissance and early modern period. Imagine my surprise as I read this vast tome and discovered that it (...) did not appear worthy of Professor Westman’s eminence. Still, I reviewed the book as well as I could and, leaving aside matters of opinion, concentrated upon two issues, competence and trust. Is Professor Westman .. (shrink)
Abraham ibn Ezra the Spaniard (d. 1167) was one of the foremost transmitters of Arabic science to the West. His astrological and astronomical works, written in Hebrew and later translated into Latin, were considered authoritative by many medieval Jewish and Christian scholars. Some of the works he translated from Arabic are no longer extant in their original form, and on occasion his treatises provide information about earlier sources that is otherwise poorly preserved, if at all. Ibn Ezra seems to be (...) the earliest scholar to record one of the seven methods for setting up the astrological houses, and this method was subsequently used by Levi ben Gerson (d. 1344) in southern France. (shrink)
Contemporary scholarship accents incipient theurgical practice for Plotinus; this lends a certain urgency to the question of his acceptance of magic. While use of magic recorded in Porphyry's Vita Plotini has received considerable attention, far less has been done to analyze actual discussion in the Enneads . Examination of key passages brings to light the context for discussion of magic, particularly issues of sympathy, prayer, astrology and divination. Equally important is Plotinus' understanding of the cosmos and role of the (...) heavenly bodies. Plotinus' affirmation of the highest part of the soul as undescended, together with the claim that our soul has a common origin with the World Soul in Soul-Hypostasis, is significant for the relative unimportance he attributes to the role and effect of magic. (shrink)
Al-Kindlidlid's œ;uvre. Two appendixes give respectively details of the manuscripts of the Arabic text and the two Latin translations, and an edition of a specimen chapter (concerning irrigation and cultivating the land) from these three versions.
In the “Sala dei Mesi” of Palazzo Schifanoia the months and the zodiacal constellations go from right to left, while the decans (three for every sign) go in the opposite direction. This problem was not clarified by Aby Warburg in his well-known essay Italian Art and International Astrology in the Palazzo Schifanoia of Ferrara (1912). The purpose of this paper is to investigate the reasons of this double direction.