Book ID: CBB366861486

Divination and Human Nature: A Cognitive History of Intuition in Classical Antiquity (2018)


Struck, Peter (Author)

Princeton University Press

Publication Date: 2018
Physical Details: 300
Language: English

Divination and Human Nature casts a new perspective on the rich tradition of ancient divination―the reading of divine signs in oracles, omens, and dreams. Popular attitudes during classical antiquity saw these readings as signs from the gods while modern scholars have treated such beliefs as primitive superstitions. In this book, Peter Struck reveals instead that such phenomena provoked an entirely different accounting from the ancient philosophers. These philosophers produced subtle studies into what was an odd but observable fact―that humans could sometimes have uncanny insights―and their work signifies an early chapter in the cognitive history of intuition.Examining the writings of Plato, Aristotle, the Stoics, and the Neoplatonists, Struck demonstrates that they all observed how, setting aside the charlatans and swindlers, some people had premonitions defying the typical bounds of rationality. Given the wide differences among these ancient thinkers, Struck notes that they converged on seeing this surplus insight as an artifact of human nature, projections produced under specific conditions by our physiology. For the philosophers, such unexplained insights invited a speculative search for an alternative and more naturalistic system of cognition.Recovering a lost piece of an ancient tradition, Divination and Human Nature illustrates how philosophers of the classical era interpreted the phenomena of divination as a practice closer to intuition and instinct than magic.

Reviewed By

Review Joshua J. Reynolds (2018) Review of "Divination and Human Nature: A Cognitive History of Intuition in Classical Antiquity". Aestimatio: Critical Reviews in the History of Science (pp. 85-92). unapi

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Authors & Contributors
Rochberg, Francesca
Cook, Constance A.
Koch-Westenholz, Ulla
Budge, E. A. Wallis
Swartz, Michael D.
Stol, Marten
East Asian Science, Technology, and Medicine
History of European Ideas
Annals of Science: The History of Science and Technology
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science
Acta Historica Leopoldina
Carsten Niebuhr Institute of Near Eastern Studies
Kegan Paul
Cambridge University Press
Brill Academic Publishers
Vanderbilt University
Divination; prognostication
Occult sciences
Jewish civilization and culture
Science and religion
Hippocrates of Cos
Manilius, Marcus
Cicero, Marcus Tullius
Locke, John
Hobbes, Thomas
Albertus Magnus
Time Periods
4th century, B.C.
Middle and Near East
Rome (Italy)
Levant and Near East

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