Shorter, improved, updated Wikipedia page on Goethean Science

Cover DRAFT holistic-psychology-20-16kHi friends, around mid-2014 the Wikipedia page on Goethean Science received a complete re-write from a knowledgeable but unknown Anthroposophist.  This blog had already started so I paid attention.  The existing Wikipedia page retains a number of my comments and revisions.

For the coming Holistic Psychology 2.0 book, I needed to work with this article again.  This version has hundreds more additions, revisions, etc. than the current Wikipedia page.  Posting it as it’s much more accessible, reader-friendly and woman-friendly.

Wikipedia’s page on GS is here:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goethean_science  Feel free to upgrade it if you can.

Why did Goethe feel a new way of seeing was needed?

By 1750 Western philosophy had reached an ethical and epistemological cul-de-sac. The Enlightenment or Age of Reason was based on a static view of human nature, an increasingly mechanical view of the universe (based on Copernican astronomy, Galilean mechanics and Newtonian physics) and a linear view of the progress of scientific knowledge (based on a mechano-material, reductionist approach). This rationalist approach, what one commentator has termed the ‘one-eyed, color blind’ perspective of the world, raised fundamental issues about “God, freedom and immortality” (Kant) of growing concern to a culture undergoing significant economic, political and cultural transformation.

<ref name=Lehrs>{{cite book|last1=Lehrs|first1=Ernst|title=Man or Matter|date=1951|publisher=Faber and Faber|location=London|url=https://archive.org/details/manormatter05641gut|accessdate=22 November 2014}}</ref>

The scientific method that had worked well with inert nature (Bacon’s ”natura naturata”), was less successful in seeking to understand vital nature (”natura naturans”). At the same time, the rational-empirical model based on the predominance of mentative thinking via the intellect started by Descartes and advanced most notably in France, was vulnerable to arbitrariness. Equally rational arguments could be made for widely divergent propositions or conceptions, leading to confusion and doubt rather than clarity.

The more empirical approach favored in England (David Hume led to the view that reality is sense-based, including the mind. What we perceive is only a mental representation of what is real, and what is real we can never really know.

As one observer summarizes, there were two ‘games’ being played in philosophy at the time – one rational and one empirical, both of which led to total skepticism and an epistemological crisis.

<ref name=”waldorflibrary.org”>{{cite journal|last1=Amrine|first1=Frederick|title=The Philosophical Roots of Waldorf Education|journal=Waldorf Research Bulletin|date=2012|volume=17|issue=2|url=http://www.waldorflibrary.org/journals/22-research-bulletin/1203-autumnwinter-2012-volume-17-2-the-philosophical-roots-of-waldorf-education-part-one|accessdate=22 November 2014}}</ref> Continue reading