Boston Studies in the Philosophy and History of Science

Goethe and the Sciences: A Reappraisal

Editors: Amrine, Frederick, Zucker, Francis J., Wheeler, H. (Eds.)

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About this book

of him in like measure within myself, that is my highest wish. This noble individual was not conscious of the fact that at that very moment the divine within him and the divine of the universe were most intimately united. So, for Goethe, the resonance with a natural rationality seems part of the genius of modern science. Einstein's 'cosmic religion', which reflects Spinoza, also echoes Goethe's remark (Ibid. , Item 575 from 1829): Man must cling to the belief that the incomprehensible is comprehensible. Else he would give up investigating. But how far will Goethe share the devotion of these cosmic rationalists to the beautiful harmonies of mathematics, so distant from any pure and 'direct observation'? Kepler, Spinoza, Einstein need not, and would not, rest with discovery of a pattern within, behind, as a source of, the phenomenal world, and they would not let even the most profound of descriptive generalities satisfy scientific curiosity. For his part, Goethe sought fundamental archetypes, as in his intuition of a Urpjlanze, basic to all plants, infinitely plastic. When such would be found, Goethe would be content, for (as he said to Eckermann, Feb. 18, 1829): . . . to seek something behind (the Urphaenomenon) is futile. Here is the limit. But as a rule men are not satisfied to behold an Urphaenomenon. They think there must be something beyond. They are like children who, having looked into a mirror, turn it around to see what is on the other side.

Reviews

' This book will be of interest to both historians and philosophers of science ...'
M. Riegner, The Quarterly Review of Biology, vol. 63, September 1988

Table of contents (20 chapters)

  • Goethe’s Relationship to the Theories of Development of His Time

    Kuhn, Dorothea

    Pages 3-15

  • The Eternal Laws of Form: Morphotypes and the Conditions of Existence in Goethe’s Biological Thought

    Lenoir, Timothy

    Pages 17-28

  • Goethe’s Entoptische Farben and the Problem of Polarity

    Burwick, Frederick

    Pages 29-44

  • Goethe and Helmholtz: Science and Sensation

    Barnouw, Jeffrey

    Pages 45-82

  • Goethe and Psychoanalysis

    Margolis, Joseph

    Pages 83-100

Buy this book

eBook $319.00
price for USA (gross)
  • ISBN 978-94-009-3761-1
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Softcover $409.00
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-90-277-2400-7
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Goethe and the Sciences: A Reappraisal
Editors
  • Frederick Amrine
  • Francis J. Zucker
  • H. Wheeler
Series Title
Boston Studies in the Philosophy and History of Science
Series Volume
97
Copyright
1987
Publisher
Springer Netherlands
Copyright Holder
D. Reidel Publishing Company, Dordrecht, Holland
eBook ISBN
978-94-009-3761-1
DOI
10.1007/978-94-009-3761-1
Softcover ISBN
978-90-277-2400-7
Series ISSN
0068-0346
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
464
Number of Illustrations and Tables
1 b/w illustrations
Topics