David Seamon - Goethe's Way of Science

David Seamon - Goethe's Way of Science

David Seamon - Goethe's Way of Science
1998 | ISBN: 0791436829, 0791436810 | English | 340 pages | PDF | 14.2 MB

Though best known for his superlative poetry and plays, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) also produced a sizable body of scientific work that focused on such diverse topics as plants, color, clouds, weather, and geology. Thankfully Goethe's "way" has not died the seemingly natural death expected after the assault of scientific positivism/reductionism/mechanism which has been the mainstream approach associated with science since Galileo, Newton and Descarte. In fact science has come to mean this very method. Whether it is admitted or not by many scientists, they do feel a certain dimunition in the sense of life first experienced when exposed to the original dynamic ideas of science such as general relativity, evolution or the concept of the atom. This sense, well expressed by Blake's beautiful poetic lines "universe in a grain of sand and heaven in a wildflower" is what drew them to a scientific career in the first place and shows that scientists just as much as artists are searchers for wonder in the universe. The question remains how has this sense of wonder been eradicated from the modern scientific approach. The answer is it hasn't, not completely, investigators still feel this sense of wonder as they investigate a new phenomenon for the first time and the associated flood of ideas emanating from it. However once past this initial stage scientific investigations progress in a very methodical way which leaches the life from the initial phenomenon. Goethe initiated a science which tries to maintain this "living" sense at all stages of the investigation without the influx of total subjectivity. This book demonstrates some investigators' own contemporary scientific investigations from the growth of plants to the evolution and structure of mammals. Hopefully such expositions will be read and digested by future scientists and lead to a new revitalisation of science in a creative living way, where this very approach becomes part of the life of the scientist rather than as a separate part of his world.


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