Research Project


Divination and the Epistemology of Prognostication in the Middle Ages

Prof. Dr. Alexander Fidora
This project analyzed the epistemological foundations of the prognostic sciences in the Middle Ages from a comparative point of view. It focused on exploring the epistemological lexicon of the divinatory arts, medicine and weather forecasting together with their place in the medieval classifications of the sciences. As can be shown, there existed a very close relationship between the epistemological vocabulary of these disciplines, which were classified altogether as the semiological sciences under the lemma "scientiae coniecturales" (Albertus Magnus). Yet, despite their strictly analogous epistemological description and classification, significant differences between these disciplines can be observed which resulted from the progressive refinement of the underlying concept of prognosis: in contrast to the holistic concepts of prognosis, as they were used in divination, medicine and weather forecasting developed sequential forms of prognosis which were sensitive to the course of events, thus setting new scientific standards. The results of this project were discussed at an International Conference held at the IKGF from September 24th to 25th 2012, the proceedings of which are being prepared for publication.

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