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The scientific revolution's axiomatic rejection of magical thinking : the case of astrology in England (1600-1700)

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The scientific revolution's axiomatic rejection of magical thinking : the case of astrology in England (1600-1700)

Kemp, David (2003) The scientific revolution's axiomatic rejection of magical thinking : the case of astrology in England (1600-1700). Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

The research presented here will cover the changing perceptions of astrology over the course of the seventeenth century from the height of its popularity to its extinction, with special attention to the non-empirical motivations behind its dismissal by the scientific community. It is the main thesis of this paper that astrology was rejected by the scientific community of the seventeenth century on non-empirical grounds. This will be shown through an examination of the rhetoric of the leading members of the seventeenth-century English scientific community. It would appear from the rhetoric of the scientific elite, and from the historical record of scientific experimentation and correspondence, that astrology was dismissed on non-empirical grounds for two reasons that can be weighted equally in terms of significance. The first of these to be discussed, and the one that will be the main focus of this paper, is that the scientific community was able to take the final step of rejecting the magical paradigm based on a faith in the future potential of the mechanical paradigm to one day provide empirical evidence against the older paradigm. As a caveat it will be suggested that such a decision was made final by the fact that the tenets of astrology were essentially very difficult if not impossible to test by any means available in the seventeenth century.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Religion
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Kemp, David
Pagination:v, 72 leaves ; 29 cm.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Theses (M.A.)
Program:Religion
Date:2003
Thesis Supervisor(s):Despland, Michel
ID Code:2327
Deposited By:Concordia University Libraries
Deposited On:27 Aug 2009 13:27
Last Modified:08 Dec 2010 10:26
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