- Goethe’s approach
o Vorstellungsarten: way of conceiving and representing things bound to the
question of Darstellung (presentation) questions of presentation is a question of
language and rhetoric.
- He is in between poet and research world. He experienced the world and he analyzed the
world – being successful researcher.
- You must be able to step into the world as well as knowing how to analyze it
- Phenomena are events in the world and we want to observe them carefully and rescue them
from obscurity (because some things people can’t see about it). So as scientists, when we
study an area, we want to get a sense of the whole.
- For Goethe, the first duty of a scientist is to explore the associations and connections of one
phenomenon to another, without the intervention of a theory or hypothesis rather than try
from the outset to give proof of a theory.
- The phenomenon comes first. In intro psych, we learned to predict and explain, we were not
taught to observe.
- Natural history is the careful observation and description of phenomena in the world.
Careful observation is the first step!
- IMPORTANT SLIDE
- Theory: formal account of the underlying process.
- First we observe, then we theorize
- 2 virtues important in science: patience and irony
- Irony of the truth – I can CHANGE. Patience – so we don’t rashly reject alternatives
- Phenomenon is a WHOLE experience – you must know it from inside out THEN relate
your findings with it.
- Goethe important for study of morphology – understand evolution of organism over time. A
good scientist looks at things as a whole and look at how it changes as a whole. Honest
viewing is to understand that things can change.
- You want to view a phenomenon from every possible angle. The initial work – collection,
examination, & organization – must be done with the greatest of care, industry, rigor so that
when wit and imagination are set loose they do not distort the phenomena at will.
- Every reflection to connection – theory comes out of the looking and observation of the
world because you’re thinking behind the scenes
- Directed looking -> consideration -> reflection -> connection. With every attentive look we
end up theorizing.
- Goethe thought of himself as inclined to the genetic (vs. atomistic), dynamic (vs.
mechanical), and concrete (vs. abstract).
- Use of term “fact” changed from having a doer, a time and a place where actor was visible.
- Psychology is based on positivism – belief that an observation is shared (you and I both
observed this event). So facts are redefined as “it was observed”
Goethe follows the logic of a phenomenal, experimental science of nature
1. Begin with: a question about a natural phenomenon…something that appears as a
part of a whole.
2. Discover through systematic experimentation: the conditions for this appearance. 3. By doing many different kinds of experiments we can understand the whole better
- He acquired habit of taking careful notes of his observation.
Aristotle: the whole is prior to the parts.
Goethe: self actualizing wholeness of organic forms. All advanced structures of a pl