Goethe on Science
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Goethe on Science

An Anthology of Goethe's Scientific Writings

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Goethe is best known for his color theory, but he was also an accomplished, well-rounded scientist who studied and wrote on anatomy, geology, botany, zoology, and meteorology. This book gathers, in the words of Goethe, his key ideas on nature, science and scientific method. – It was Goethe belief that we should study nature and our world as people who are at home here, rather than as separate and alien from our own environment. He adopted a qualitative approach to science—one at odds with the quantitative methods of Newton, which were equally popular in his day. His is a sensitive science that includes our interrelationship with nature. Today, his ideas have been given special attention by scientists such as Adolf Portmann and Werner Heisenberg. – Science, as conceived by Goethe, is as much a path of inner development as it is a way of accumulating knowledge. It thus involves a rigorous training of our faculties for observation and thinking. From a Goethean perspective, our modern ecological crisis is a crisis of relationship to nature. – In this anthology, Jeremy Naydler provides the first systematic arrangement of extracts from Goethe's major scientific works. They give us a clear picture of Goethe's fundamentally unique approach to scientific study of the natural world. – These extracts are fascinating and essential reading for anyone who believes we should regain our lost spiritual connection to nature.

Additional information

Weight 7.2 oz
Dimensions 6.2 × 0.5 × 9.2 in




Jeremy Naydler


Henri Bortoft




Jeremy Naydler


October 1996




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