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 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
simple binary definition of determinism as a situation that is either
totally predictable (it is determined) or it is totally unpredictable
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
My aim is
to complete this research by the latter part of 2010.
Campion, Nicholas. "Prophecy, Cosmology and the New Age Movement.
The Extent and Nature of
Contemporary Belief in Astrology." Bath Spa
University College, 2003.