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Prognostication (Prognosis)

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

Astrological prognostication refers to astrological prediction, although prognosis is more accurate for what astrologers actually do. If the future were rigidly fated, then, no matter what anyone did, only one future would be possible. Given this assumption, one should be able to predict the future. The term prognostication, however, does not imply a rigidly fated future. Instead, the term seems to suggest that human willpower can, within certain limits, change the future. Like a weather reporter, an astrologer can only predict upcoming conditions. Whether or not one chooses to go for a picnic on a day a meteorologist predicts rain—or on a day an astrologer advises staying at home—is a matter of personal will.



(also prognostics), in a broad sense, the theory and practice of forecasting; in a narrow sense, the science of the rules and methods for elaborating a forecast.

These definitions have been associated with the term “prognostication” since the mid-1960’s, when the first scientific reports appeared on the theoretical problems in the specific forecasting of social phenomena.

The foundation for the general methodology of prognostication was laid by K. Marx, F. Engels, and V. I. Lenin. Prognostic research developed in the natural sciences (initially in agrohydrometeorology). In the second half of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th, prognostic research was introduced in the social sciences (particularly economics), resulting in the development of prognostication as a special scientific discipline. The development of prognostication as the theory of forecasting has been interconnected with the development of theories of scientific prediction, goal setting, planning, programming, projecting, and management.

The main task of prognostication is the elaboration of a specific methodology of forecasting, in order to improve the effectiveness of the methods and techniques of working out forecasts. Among the problems studied by prognostication are the distinctive traits of forecasting as a specialized form of scientific research, the principles underlying the structure and optimum combination of various methods of forecasting, the methods of evaluating the reliability of forecasts, and the principles for using the results of probability theory, game theory, operations research, and decision-making theory in elaborating forecasts.

There are two branches of prognostication—general (theoretical) and specific (applied). The applied branches are components of both general prognostication and particular scientific disciplines (medical, biological, economic, and demographic forecasting, for example). Especially in the social sciences and in social forecasting, the applied branches of prognostication form intricately interrelated systems.

The discipline of prognostication, which is still developing, has played an important role in perfecting the methods of forecasting. However, many of the problems in prognostication have been insufficiently elaborated.


Gvishiani, D. M., and V. A. Lisichkin. Prognostika. Moscow, 1968.
Filosofiia i prognostika. Moscow, 1971. (Translated from German.)
Lisichkin, V. A. Teoriia i praktika prognostiki. Moscow, 1972.


References in periodicals archive ?
Scientific data indicate that the entire story of Phil's prognostication is nothing more than a way of celebrating folklore; and there is no actual correlation between Phil's prediction and the changes in the weather.
It begins with setting out the environmental and developmental context for the analysis, followed by an integrated assessment of environmental change and its relationship to development over the past 20 years; discussion of emerging challenges related to genetically modified crops, invasive alien species, chemicals, and peace and regional cooperation; prognostication on future trends; and recommendations on policy options.
He also outlines Paracelsus' penchant for astrological prognostication instead of astronomy and his rumored battles with mental illness.
Knowing Bearskin as I do, I stayed at the airport until the bitter end when the prognostication went from "we check the weather on the hour and we'll make our decision then" to "not a chance.
Clinicians must therefore be humble in the certainty of their prognostication.
The statute further notes that 'making medical prognostication of life expectancy is not always exact.
before we get too deeply into prognostication about the future of recordable optical technology, let's conduct a brief survey of the current landscape.
The poet and novelist Sir Walter Scott remarked about the prognostication skills of physicians, "they are bad guessers.
At the same time, this is precisely the kind of prognostication that worries Fed policymakers.
I accede to your superior powers of prognostication.
Le Monde lamented "a new error in prognostication, after the initial error at the end of 1998, when the experts prematurely claimed the end of the dollar's hegemony on the international financial scene.