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Goethe's Way of Science (Suny Series, Environmental & Architectural Phenomenology) [Paperback]

by David Seamon
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

April 2, 1998 0791436829 978-0791436820
Examines Goethe's neglected but sizable body of scientific work, considers the philosophical foundations of his approach, and applies his method to the real world of nature.

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. Goethe's way of science is highly unusual because it seeks to draw together the intuitive awareness of art with the rigorous observation and thinking of science. Written by major scholars and practitioners of Goethean science today, this book considers the philosophical foundations of Goethe's approach and applies the method to the real world of nature, including studies of plants, animals, and the movement of water.

Part I discusses the philosophical foundations of the approach and clarifies its epistemology and methodology; Part II applies the method to the real world of nature; and Part III examines the future of Goethean science and emphasizes its great value for better understanding and caring for the natural environment.

"I especially like the fact that a major portion of this book is devoted to presenting the results of Goethean Science research. This sets the book apart from all others that have appeared in English. These few books have been heavy on theory and light on results. The integration of theory with practice makes this an important contribution." -- Bruce K. Kirchoff, Department of Biology, University of North Carolina, Greensboro

"Goethe's Way of Science is a readable, highly original contribution to the study of environment. While challenging common paradigms of positivist, scientific methodology, the book does so unpretentiously, carefully and with much rigor. The range of examples provided by the authors is particularly illumining of the Goethean phenomenology of nature. I recommend this book to ecologists, scientists, philosophers, and students of nature as a thoughtful exploration of alternative ways of seeing the world and its living forms." -- Ingrid Leman Stefanovic, Department of Philosophy, University of Toronto

"This collection is a dazzling display of what can be done with Goethe's science when applied by competent scholars and researchers. The interplay of approaches (from the philosophical to the poetic, from the biological to the artistic) demonstrates how modern science can find a way out of the Gordian knot it has gotten itself into." -- Douglas E. Miller, Department of Foreign Languages, University of Michigan, Flint

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Goethe's Way of Science (Suny Series, Environmental & Architectural Phenomenology) + Meditation As Contemplative Inquiry: When Knowing Becomes Love
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

David Seamon is Professor of Architecture at Kansas State University. He is the editor of several books, including most recently Dwelling, Seeing, and Designing (SUNY Press) and Dwelling, Place, and Environment, and is the author of A Geography of the Lif

Product Details

  • Series: Suny Series, Environmental & Architectural Phenomenology
  • Paperback: 340 pages
  • Publisher: State University of New York Press (April 2, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0791436829
  • ISBN-13: 978-0791436820
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.9 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #847,323 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Arthur Zajonc is professor of physics at Amherst College, where he has taught since 1978. He received his B.S. and Ph.D. in physics from the University of Michigan. He has been visiting professor and research scientist at the Ecole Normale Superieure in Paris, the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics, and the universities of Rochester, and Hannover. He has been Fulbright professor at the University of Innsbruck in Austria.

His research has included studies in electron-atom physics, parity violation in atoms, quantum optics, the experimental foundations of quantum physics, and the relationship between science, the humanities, and the contemplative traditions. He has written extensively on Goethe's science work.

He is author of the book: Catching the Light (Bantam & Oxford UP), co-author of The Quantum Challenge (Jones & Bartlettt), and co-editor of Goethe's Way of Science (SUNY Press). In 1997 he served as scientific coordinator for the Mind and Life dialogue published as The New Physics and Cosmology: Dialogues with the Dalai Lama (Oxford UP). He again organized the 2002 dialogue with the Dalai Lama, "The Nature of Matter, the Nature of Life," and acted as moderator at MIT for the "Investigating the Mind" Mind and Life dialogue in 2003. The proceedings of the Mind and Life-MIT meeting were published under the title The Dalai Lama at MIT (Harvard UP) which he co-edited. Most recently he is author of the books, Meditation as Contemplative Inquiry: When Knowing Becomes Love (Lindisfarne Press) on contemplative pedagogy, and a volume on the youth program PeaceJam, We Speak as One: Twelve Nobel Laureates Share their Vision for Peace.

He currently is an advisor to the World Future Council, and directs the Academic Program of the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society, which supports appropriate inclusion of contemplative methods in higher education. He has also been a co-founder of the Kira Institute, General Secretary of the Anthroposophical Society, president/chair of the Lindisfarne Association, and was a senior program director at the Fetzer Institute.

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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The practise of Goethean science today August 3, 2000
A timely book describing the way of science practised by Goethe and still continued today through the talents of Bockemuehl, Schad and others. 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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0 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars clean January 28, 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Excellent copy and shipped fast. This is one of the books that I have been waiting to read. clean book.
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