The demarcation of physical theory and astronomy by geminus and ptolemy

Perspectives on Science 15 (3):327-358 (2007)

: The Hellenistic reception of Babylonian horoscopic astrology gave rise to the question of what the planets really do and whether astrology is a science. This question in turn became one of defining the Greco-Latin science of astronomy, a project that took Aristotle's views as a starting-point. Thus, I concentrate on one aspect of the various definitions of astronomy proposed in Hellenistic times, their demarcation of astronomy and physical theory. I explicate the account offered by Geminus and its subordination of astronomy to arguments made in physical theory about what really is the case. I then show how Ptolemy treats the same topic but maintains that this science is sufficient on its own to determine the realia it studies. In this way, I identify two moments in an obvious process of intellectual change that had profound consequences for the history of astronomy and cosmology over the next 1500 years. My hope is that this will advance our understanding of the reception of horoscopic astrology in Hellenistic times and also serve to locate Ptolemy more fully in his intellectual context
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1162/posc.2007.15.3.327
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 47,395
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Simplicius and the Early History of Greek Planetary Theory.Alan C. Bowen - 2002 - Perspectives on Science 10 (2):155-167.
The Astrology of P. Nigidius Figulus.R. J. Getty - 1941 - Classical Quarterly 35 (1-2):17-22.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Commentary 01 on Goldstein 1980.Bernard R. Goldstein - 2008 - Centaurus 50 (1-2):184-188.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles


Added to PP index

Total views
59 ( #151,377 of 2,291,340 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
4 ( #300,550 of 2,291,340 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes

Sign in to use this feature