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Volume 18 - 2
The Contextual Rationality of Galileo's Astrology
In order to understand the relationship between Galileo's work and his astrological interests, it is first necessary to understand the socio-historical contexts of the rationality of his astrological beliefs. Many modern people view a belief in predictive astrology as inherently irrational and in opposition to a scientific worldview, as evidenced by scholars such as Karl Popper and scientists such as Carl Sagan. However, drawing on the work of the anthropologist Steven Lukes, the philosopher Richard Swinburne, and the sociologist Pierre Bourdieu, this article argues that the intellectual worldview that generations of European scholars created during the Middle Ages, Renaissance, and early modern periods created a context in which an acceptance of astrological principles was part of the rational fabric of the seventeenth century. Therefore, any evaluation of Galileo's work, including his astrological interests, should use that context as a starting point in order to avoid modernist biases.
Scott Hendrix, 'The Contextual Rationality of Galileo's Astrology', Culture and Cosmos, Vol. 18, no. 2, Spring/Summer 2014, pp. 71-103.