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Facts as Theory: Aspects of Goethe’s Philosophy of Science
Goethe and the Sciences: A Reappraisal
Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science
Format: Journal Article
Publication Year: 1987
Pages: 219 - 245
Source ID: shanti-sources-60541
Abstract: For many, the business of science is to search for causes. So when the would-be scientist Goethe declares to Schiller that “. . . we are not seeking causes but the circumstances under which the phenomenon occurs” (‘Erfahrung und Wissenschaft’: HA 13, p. 25; Goethe, 1952, p. 228), he seems to be missing the point of the scientific enterprise. He only makes matters worse by maintaining that, “Man in thinking errs particularly when inquiring after cause and effect; the two together constitute the indissoluble phenomenon . . . [‘Maximen und Reflexionen’, 591: HA 12, p. 446]. “It is rightly said that the phenomenon is a consequence without a ground, an effect without a cause [Goethe, Maximen . . ., 590: HA 12, p. 446].