Determinism within Western Astrology  -
Doctorial research being undertaken at Bath Spa University, UK
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Two things fill me with constantly increasing admiration and awe, the longer and more earnestly I reflect on them: the starry heavens without and the moral law within.       
                                    Immanuel Kant (1724-1804)

One of the defining features of astrology is that it draws assumptions about life and/or history based on the deterministic unfolding of the solar system and, although Kant was in no way suggesting anything astrological in his musings quoted above, astrology is the point where these two places, the heavens and the “moral law within” meet.  Astrology blends a linear dynamic system (the mechanical solar system) with a nonlinear dynamic system (life) and thus actively injects a level of determinism into the astrological idea of life itself.   

The presence of determinism within the subject of astrology can therefore be assumed.  Indeed it was thus revealed by Nicholas Campion [1]when he surveyed practitioners of  20th century Western astrology.  The survey found that 87.4% of astrologers at a UK conference (139 of a total of 159 sampled) and 87.5% (133 of a total of 152 sampled) at a USA conference considered that “the birth chart contains our potential, and it is up to us how we use it.”  However, Campion’s interests lay in exploring astrology as a new age phenomenon rather than exploring the nature of the determinism found within his sampled astrologers.

Until recently Western culture has been dominated by the Newtonian world view which considers that there are only two types of behaviour, the totally predictable and the totally random (stochastic).  This is a position of absolutes and consequently Newtonian causality was linked with the notion of determinism, to produce what is known as causal determinism.  Causal determinism is defined as the condition where all events are effects and are necessitated by earlier events (which are their causes).  This produces a simple binary definition of determinism as a situation that is either totally predictable (it is determined) or it is totally unpredictable (undetermined). 

Causal determinism fuelled the development of science and technology and as science came to dominate Western culture, it brought with it a standard assumption, held by all but the philosophers, that causal determinism was the only possible expression of determinism.  Consequently astrology, with its inbuilt determinism, became judged as containing causal determinism and so its critics demanded a causal agent.  

My research work is to track the nature of determinism considered to exist in human life from the pre-Socratic philosophers to the current period and then compare this work with the nature of the determinism which exist in 20th and 21st century Western astrology. This work is being carried out via survey's, interviews and literature  searches.

My aim is to complete this research by the latter part of 2010.


[1] Campion, Nicholas.  "Prophecy, Cosmology and the New Age Movement. The Extent and Nature of

Contemporary Belief in Astrology." Bath Spa University College, 2003.


PhD Matters

Paper on Dane Rudhyar and Alan Leo and their Platonistic roots presented in February 2008 at Bath Spa University.

Survey on Astrological Determinism


Take the Online Survey

or download a paper copy

Some early results
for your interest.