Goethe's History of Science

Goethe's History of Science

by Karl J. Fink


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Goethe's History of Science by Karl J. Fink

Being familiar with Goethe's Faust story, students of Western thought will not be surprised to learn that Goethe was also a scientist, philosopher and historian. This book is about the interdisciplinary activities of his mid-life (1790-1810) when he researched optics, colour theory and plant morphology, and at the same time contributed to the growing literature in the history and philosophy of science. In Goethe's writings, Karl J. Fink finds a scientist examining the junctures of nature, the boundary conditions where growth and change occur. These topics of transition also define his approach to the history of science, where the gaps between visible states challenge the historian to search for metaphors that bridge discontinuities. Fink concludes his study with Goethe's views on the possibility of a teleology of science, looking at those writings in which Goethe explores how the scientist of today projects and directs the science of tomorrow.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780521121262
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 10/15/2009
Pages: 260
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.70(d)

Table of Contents

Preface; Acknowledgements; Abbreviations; Introduction; Part I. The Real Joints of Nature: 1. Goethe's romantic science; 2. Goethe's classical science; 3. Goethe's re-presentation of nature; Part II. The Shifting Map of History: 4. Goethe's narrative strategies; 5. Goethe's reconstruction of amorphous states; 6. Goethe's transition from history to historiography; Part III. The Logocentrism of Scientific Movements: 7. Goethe's theory of biography; 8. Goethe's concept of authority; 9. Goethe's taxonomy of scientific discourse; Part IV. The Rhetoric of the Guild: 10. Goethe's teleology of science; 11. The topoi of Goethe scholarship; Notes; Histories of science from the Goethe period; References; Index.

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