Escaping the Epistemic Trap: Problemata Literature and Astrological Prognostication
Speaker: Henrique Leitao (History of Science; Centro Interuniversitário de História das Ciencias e da Tecnologia, Lisbon)
Time: 15. June 2021, 6:15 pm–7:45 pm Central European Time (US East Coast: 12:15 pm–1:45 pm EST; China: 0:15 am–1:45 am CST)
This talk is part of a series of virtual lectures hosted by the International Research Consortium “Fate, Freedom, and Prognostication” at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg. The full schedule is available at http://ikgf.fau.de/events/upcoming-events/
For online participation, please register anytime at http://ikgf.fau.de/lectures
As is well known, the notion and the ideal of *episteme* defined by Aristotle in his *Posterior Analytics* deeply influenced western intellectual tradition. Causal knowledge became the cornerstone for the development of natural philosophy and the study of nature, but ist influence extended much farther. It has been noted, however, that the causal requirement could become, in certain cases, an excessive requirement. In this presentation I will look at early modern *Problemata* literature from his point of view. I will argue that by legitimizing an approach that left open the issue of causation, the *Problemata* genre was to a great extent a way of escaping the stringencies of the aristotelian requirement. I will also argue that astrology -- or at least some forms of it -- provided also such a path, that is, it attempted to offer a causal (narrative) explanation to phenomena whose "natural" causes could not be easily identified.
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