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The Marginalization of Astrology in Seventeenth-Century Scotland

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As evidenced by student notebooks, astrology was a core component of the university curriculum in Scotland until the late seventeenth century. Edinburgh University Library catalogues document that purchases of astrology books peaked in the 1670s. By 1700, however, astrology’s place in academia had been irrevocably lost. The reasons for this abrupt elimination include changes in natural philosophy as scholastic ideas and texts were shed and Cartesianism, Copernicanism, Newtonianism and the experimental and observational methods were adopted. The changing identity of astrological practitioners also played a major role, as did the personal animosity of influential individuals like the mathematician and astronomer David Gregory.

Affiliations: 1: Independent Scholar


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