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Western astrology has been booming in recent years, with thousands of memes and professional astrologers on the rise every day. The ubiquitous zodiac is more intriguing than ever, but the question of its accuracy remains.
Many people extract meaning from the interpretation of astrology signs. The world is curious: Are zodiac signs true to your personality?
In this article, review arguments for and against astrology, and answer the question once and for all.
Why Doubt Astrology?
A common argument against the zodiac is that it has no formal basis in science. The planets and constellations, they claim, are irrelevant to the formation of who we are as people. This argument is essentially twofold.
Rather than birth date determining who we are, it makes sense to suggest that our genes and the environment contribute to fine-tuning our physical systems. Resting on the premise that there is no “soul”, they claim that the personality is the end result of physical processes, rather something born with us.
In other words: Our personality doesn’t come from “fundamental nature”. It’s what comes from how we develop as evolutionary creatures.
Not only that, but they claim there’s no evidence that astral bodies affect how we think. The burden of proof rests on the astrologer.
This argument comes in many varieties and is much, much more than what this article can review. But this branch of traditions has a long history in philosophy, broadly called scientific materialism.
According to philosopher Paul M. Churchland, the goodness of a theory rests on how well it explains something. He refers to this as the explanatory power of a phenomenon.
With this in mind, many would claim astrology is not a very good theory. The idea is that astrology’s foundation is the Forer effect, also called the Barnum effect.
What this means is that astrology doesn’t actually predict anything about your personality. The zodiac signs simply give out general statements that could be true to any number of different people. Here’s a link to one psychology study in that realm.
In addition, many people report that their zodiac sign simply isn’t right. Growing up as Leo, you may not have a compelling urge to control people or to be super outgoing. Skeptics claim this is evidence the zodiac is falsifiable.
This can all seem pretty convincing. But it’s not the only worldview, and now we will review counterarguments.
Are Zodiac Signs True to Your Personality?
While there is no accepted scientific explanation for how astrology works, many people still have faith in it. And you can certainly make some valid arguments for how it might work in a broader scientific context.
While some arguments like adjusting for parallax are trivial and easily fixed (when/if it’s an issue), some are hard to counter.
According to astrologers, common scientific materialist counterarguments rely on some misunderstandings about the zodiac. Let’s explore what that looks like.
Astrology Signs: Personality is Not the Sun Sign
Talk about the zodiac usually involves just one sign. Specifically, the Sun sign is used to describe the personality at length, and is referred to as one’s singular “sign”.
In fact, there are at least nine different signs in the zodiac, each corresponding to one of the planets.
Some of the signs include:
- Sun sign. This is what you aspire to be, how you “shine”.
- Moon sign. This involves your emotions and how you are when you’re alone.
- Rising sign (also called “ascendant”). This is how you appear to others.
- Mercury sign. Named after the messenger of the Roman gods, this is how you communicate.
- Venus sign. This is how you love.
- Mars sign. This is your drive, what makes you tick.
- Jupiter sign. Named after the leader of the gods, this is your fortune, your growth, and your wisdom.
- Saturn sign. This involves challenges you face again and again, your fears, and your disciplines.
- Uranus sign. This is related to big changes. Because Uranus takes so long to revolve, this is usually the same for an entire decade.
- Neptune sign. This has to do with the ethereal, the spiritual, dreams, and healing.
- Pluto sign. This is power and self-transformation.
Because each of the planets affects one’s personality in complex and dynamic ways, the sum of their impacts cannot be construed in a single sentence. So a Leo can be shy because they’re a Pisces moon or a Cancer rising.
These interactions are not as straightforward as a simple horoscope. It involves a careful and open-minded analysis of the different signs and how they play into one’s role in life.
It is clear to see how scientific materialists go wrong by comparing Sun sign horoscopes to the whole personality. Astrology does not make concrete claims; it merely provides a general, fluid set of tools.
Skeptics would claim this is absurd, rendering astrology impractical. The astrologer would respond that it’s only impractical insofar as science is limited.
Astrologers do not have to “curl up and die” when confronted with scientific arguments. In fact, there’s a growing tradition in philosophy of mind that could support an explanation for how astrology works.
Held in various traditions for thousands of years, panpsychism is the idea that all things are embedded with mind or consciousness. What this means varies from person to person, but one way to argue for it is that we don’t know where to draw the line for consciousness.
That is, conscious intelligence arose from physical, evolutionary systems. But where did conscious intelligence arise? There is an overwhelming amount of evidence that chimpanzees are conscious (i.e., they have ‘experiences’), that dogs have experiences, that cows have experiences, etc.
It goes back even further; studies suggest fish can feel pain, and perhaps insects have experiences, too. So should we say nervous systems are what create consciousness? Would one say that comb jellies, who have incredibly basic nervous systems, have rich inner lives like us?
One answer to this question is to say that consciousness is a basic aspect of all things. It did not magically “appear” anywhere in evolution, it’s always been there.
Using this, one could speculate about all sorts of things. Perhaps the planets do have a kind of macro-consciousness that influence how our minds work! This would at least be a valid system of beliefs.
Another more common argument is that environmental factors at birth can influence development. For example, warmer summers may create certain patterns in development.
Astrology Signs and Personality
So, are zodiac signs true to your personality? It is clear there is much debate surrounding the question. Nevertheless, astrology can be a powerful tool that can help you learn about yourself and those around you.
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