Steiner Rudolf - Goethean science

Author : Steiner Rudolf
Title : Goethean science
Year : 1883

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Introduction. On August 18, 1787, Goethe wrote to Knebel from Italy: “To judge by the plants and fish I have seen in Naples and Sicily, I would, if I were ten years younger, be very tempted to make a trip to India, not in order to discover something new, but in order to contemplate in my own way what has already been discovered.” In these words is to be found the point of view from which we have to look at Goethe's scientific works. With him it is never a matter of discovering new facts, but rather of opening up a new point of view, of looking at nature in a particular way. It is true that Goethe made a number of great single discoveries, such as the intermaxillary bone, the vertebral theory of the skull in osteology, the common identity of all plant organs with the leaf in botany, etc. But we have to regard as the life and soul of all these individual cases the magnificent view of nature by which they are carried; in the study of organisms we have to fix our attention above all on a magnificent discovery that overshadows everything else: that of the organism itself. Goethe has set forth the principle by which an organism is what it presents itself to be; he sets forth the causes whose results appear to us in the manifestations of life; he sets forth, in fact, everything we can ask about the manifestations of life from a point of view concerned with principles. ...

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