On the Knowledge of Divine Things: Ficino’s concept of notio by Angela Voss
Sphinx, Journal of Archetypal Psychology and the Arts, vol. 6, 149-172.
in his Disputatio contra iudicium astrologorum of 1477, Ficino appears to proclaim his firm opposition to astrological practices. It is as if, adopting an Aristotelian model of rational argument and writing in clear, exegetical prose, he wishes to sweep away all the deadwood of fatalism with a common-sense critique of rigid and arbitrary astrological systems. Yet in his very approach, ‘playing the game’ of the rationalist and ridiculing a superstitious, literalist interpretation, he is in fact making the point that the meaningfulness and experience of astrology is not to be found by attempting to reduce it to a natural-scientific system. In Ficino’s fervent humanism the human reason may potentially, and freely, attain to universal knowledge through transcending such a limitation. In astrology he found a unique mans to bridge and thus to unite the external and the temporal, divine and human realms; for the empirical observation of universal motions and celestial phenomena and the mathematical calculation of the laws of regulation which arise, provide a framework within which the subjective imagination may freely range and find meaning.