Dialogues in Philosophy
Mental and Neuro Sciences

Dialogues in Philosophy, Mental and Neuro Sciences

The official journal of Crossing Dialogues
Volume 15, Issue 1 (June 2022)

The poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) as a scientist and the emergent paradigm of the sciences
Otto Doerr-Zegers, Héctor Pelegrina Cetràn, Rainer Holm-Hadulla, Alexander Wendt
The great German poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) was also an immensely inventive scientist. With the collaboration of well-known contemporaneous scientists such as Johann Wilhelm Ritter, Wolfgang Döbereiner and Thomas Johann Seebeck, he carried out many experiments in different natural sciences, like anatomy, biology, geology, and mineralogy, but particularly in optics and the theory of light and colours. The authors proceed to explaining the
essential elements of his theory, and they derive from it the principles of science according to Goethe.
In a second part the authors compare the traditional and the emergent paradigm of sciences, focusing on: substantialist versus dialectic thinking, elements versus structures and systems, mechanics versus emergent causality, determinism versus indeterminism, and subject/object separation versus primordial unity of both.
In a third part they show how Goethe’s scientific points of view highly coincide with what current natural sciences are postulating today, as he criticised, then, the mechanistic causality principle and proposed a “reciprocal causality”, in which the effect simultaneously has a retroactive nature and influences over the cause. Finally, they make some considerations about Goethe’s phenomenology and its influence on his way of conceiving natural sciences.
Goethe, epistemology, phenomenology
Dial Phil Ment Neuro Sci 2022; 15 (1): 1-14
Received on January 12, 2022
Accepted on July 05, 2022
Firstly published online on September 30, 2022