Article ID: CBB001420243

The Marginalization of Astrology among Dutch Astronomers in the First Half of the 17th Century (2014)


In the first half of the 17th century, Dutch astronomers rapidly abandoned the practice of astrology. By the second half of the century, no trace of it was left in Dutch academic discourse. This abandonment, in its early stages, does not appear as the result of criticism or skepticism, although such skepticism was certainly known in the Dutch Republic and leading humanist scholars referred to Pico's arguments against astrological predictions. The astronomers, however, did not really refute astrology, but simply stopped paying attention to it, as other questions (in particular the constitution of the universe) became the focus of their scholarship. The underlying physical view of the world, with its idea of celestial influences, remained in vigor much longer. Even convinced anti-Aristotelians, in explaining the world, tried to account for the effects of the oppositions and conjunctions of planets, and similar elements. It is only with Descartes that the by now widespread skepticism about predictions found expression in a philosophy that denied celestial influence.

Citation URI

Similar Citations

Book Bouwsma, William James; (2000)
The waning of the Renaissance, ca. 1550-1640 (/isis/citation/CBB000110248/)

Article Ovanes Akopyan; (2018)
Giovanni Pico della Mirandola on Tides (/isis/citation/CBB357666630/)

Book Costa, Adalgisa Botelho da; (2007)
O “Reportório Dos Tempos” de André do Avelar: A Astrologia em Portugal no Século XVI (/isis/citation/CBB000820174/)

Thesis Rabin, Sheila J.; (1987)
Two Renaissance views of astrology: Pico and Kepler (/isis/citation/CBB001565315/)

Article Ovanes Akopyan; (2015)
The Architecture of the Sky: Giovanni Pico della Mirandola on Celestial Spheres (/isis/citation/CBB625324396/)

Article Westman, Robert S.; (2013)
The Copernican Question Revisited: A Reply to Noel Swerdlow and John Heilbron (/isis/citation/CBB001252174/)

Article Cullen, Christopher; (2011)
Understanding the Planets in Ancient China: Prediction and Divination in the Wu xing zhan (/isis/citation/CBB001034169/)

Book Håkansson, Håkan; (2006)
Att låta själen flyga mellan himlens tinnar: Tycho Brahe och Renässansen (/isis/citation/CBB000773380/)

Book Campanella, Tommaso; (2003)
Opuscoli astrologici: Come evitare il fato astrale, Apologetico, Disputa sulle bolle (/isis/citation/CBB000502208/)

Book Lennon, Thomas M.; (2008)
The Plain Truth: Descartes, Huet, and Skepticism (/isis/citation/CBB000952100/)

Book Gaukroger, Stephen; (2006)
Blackwell Guide to Descartes' Meditations (/isis/citation/CBB001021787/)

Chapter Detel, Wolfgang; (2002)
Scepticism and Scientific Method---The Case of Gassendi (/isis/citation/CBB000320070/)

Book Paganini, Gianni; (2003)
The Return of Scepticism: From Hobbes and Descartes to Bayle (/isis/citation/CBB000331034/)

Chapter Cavaille, Jean-Pierre; (2001)
Descartes et les sceptiques modernes: une culture de la tromperie (/isis/citation/CBB000102846/)

Authors & Contributors
Cavaillé, Jean-Pierre
Borghero, Carlo
Paganini, Gianni
Lennon, Thomas M.
Akopyan, Ovanes
Bouwsma, William James
Bruniana & Campanelliana: Ricerche Filosofiche e Materiali Storico-testuali
Ziran Kexueshi Yanjiu (Studies in the History of Natural Sciences)
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences
Rinascimento: Rivista dell'Istituto Nazionale di Studi sul Rinascimento
Early Science and Medicine: A Journal for the Study of Science, Technology and Medicine in the Pre-modern Period
Perspectives on Science
Yale University Press
Biblioteca Universale Rizzoli
Forecasting; prediction
Descartes, René
Pico della Mirandola, Giovanni
Galilei, Galileo
Gassendi, Pierre
Locke, John
Bayle, Pierre
Time Periods
17th century
16th century
15th century
Han dynasty (China, 202 B.C.-220 A.D.)
Padua (Italy)

Be the first to comment!

{{ comment.created_by.username }} on {{ comment.created_on | date:'medium' }}

Log in or register to comment