The Wholeness of Nature: Goethe’s Way toward a Science of Conscious Participation in Nature
Whereas most readers are familiar with Goethe as a poet and dramatist, few are familiar with his scientific work. In this brilliant book, Henri Bortoft (who began his studies of Goethean science with J. G. Bennett and David Bohm) introduces the fascinating scientific theories of Goethe. He succeeds in showing that Goethe’s way of doing science was not a poet’s folly but a genuine alternative to the dominant scientific paradigm.
Bortoft shows that a different, “gentler” kind of empiricism is possible than that demanded by the dualizing mind of modern technological science and demonstrates that Goethe’s participatory phenomenology of a new way of seeing—while far from being a historical curiosity—in fact proposes a practical solution to the dilemmas of contemporary, postmodern science.
If you read only one book on Goethan science, this should be the one!
About the Author
Henri Bortoft (1938–2012) was an independent British researcher, teacher, lecturer, and writer on physics and the philosophy of science. He is best known for his work The Wholeness of Nature, considered a relevant and original recent interpretation of Goethean science. His book Taking Appearance Seriously: The Dynamic Way of Seeing in Goethe and European Thought was published in 2012. Bortoft completed his studies at the University of Hull, UK, and then did postgraduate research on the foundations of quantum physics at Birkbeck, University of London, where theoretical physicist David Bohm introduced him to the problem of wholeness in quantum theory. Subsequently, Bortoft worked with John G. Bennett on Bennett’s Systematics (also known as “multi-term systems”), which was Bennett’s methodology for assisting the systematic and progressive understanding of systems, complexity, and wholeness, and on efforts with Bennett and with Kenneth W. Pledge to develop a formal language that was rigorously descriptive of scientific activity. Those efforts were published in Systematics: The Journal of the Institute for the Comparative Study of History, Philosophy and the Sciences. Bortoft taught physics and philosophy of science at Schumacher College within the framework of the program in Holistic Science. He lectured widely and led seminars in Great Britain and the United States on the scientific work of Goethe and the development of modern science.