Theory of science in the light of Goethe's science of nature

J. W. Goethe is well known as one of the world's greatest poets. Some are also aware that throughout his long and active life Goethe devoted much of his time to natural science. His theory of colour and studies in the morphology of plants are acknowledged contributions in their fields. What is much less known is that in his scientific work Goethe was attempting to elaborate and justify a new basic methodology for the natural sciences. He opposed and wished to refute the one-sided quantitative-mechanistic method which had been dominant since Galileo and Newton (and in principle still prevails today) and to set up against it a qualitative method. An essential characteristic of this qualitative method, according to Goethe, is that it is immune to a Humean reduction of the status of 'natural laws' to mere hypotheses. This claim makes Goethe's view directly relevant for current discussion of such questions as the status of scientific 'laws' and the correct method of theory construction. The present essay tries to show the fruitfulness of Goethe's view for such discussions, partly by means of an exposition of the view — drawn from various works — and partly by drawing consequences from it which bring it into direct contact with contemporary discussions in philosophy of science.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1080/00201747208601664
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history
Request removal from index
Download options
Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 28,756
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
Opticks.Isaac Newton - 1704 - Dover Press.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

36 ( #144,603 of 2,177,988 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

3 ( #113,123 of 2,177,988 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.

Other forums