Modern Science, epistemology and astrology

by Garry Phillipson

Correlation, Vol. 23(2) 2006, pp 4-23


Recent developments in science – particularly quantum theory – have been taken by some astrologers to herald a paradigm shift that 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 submitted for the reader’s consideration that, by undermining the realist/foundationalist model, modern science (as defined in this paper) does make a contribution to the understanding of astrology; but that this is more supportive of astrology as a divinatory art than as a hard science.