Taking Appearance Seriously
The Dynamic Way of Seeing in Goethe and European Thought
- Explores a way of seeing that draws attention back from what is experienced, into the act of experiencing
- Discusses how twentieth-century European thinkers radically overturned the notion of dualism, placing importance on 'appearance'
- By renowned thinker and physicist Henri Bortoft
A renowned thinker explores a way of seeing that draws attention back from what is experienced, into the act of experiencing.
The history of western metaphysics from Plato onwards is dominated by the dualism of being and appearance. What something really is (its true being) is believed to be hidden behind the 'mere appearances' through which it manifests. Twentieth-century European thinkers radically overturned this way of thinking. 'Appearance' began to be taken seriously, with the observer participating in the dynamic event of perception.
In this important book, Henri Bortoft guides us through this dynamic way of seeing, exploring issues including how we distinguish things, how we find meaning, and the relationship between thought and words.
Expanding the scope of his previous book, The Wholeness of Nature, Bortoft shows how Goethean insights combine with this dynamic way of seeing in continental philosophy, to offer an actively experienced 'life of meaning'.
This book will be of interest to anyone who wants to understand the contribution and wider implications of modern European thought in the world today.
'Henri Bortoft is one of the world's foremost experts on Goethean science. Here he extends the argument of his earlier work The Wholeness of Nature to articulate a new history and philosophy of science with an emphasis on a dynamic way of understanding that highlights process rather than product, the coming into being rather than the end result. This represents a fundamental shift away from abstraction to lived sensory experience, and from the dominance of left-hemisphere thinking to a more integrated approach. This is a seminal text that deserves the widest audience.'
-- David Lorimer, Scientific and Medical Network
'Taking Appearance Seriously is a rare philosophical work of both outstanding quality and immense practicality, written to guide the reader into really experiencing what Henri Bortoft calls the dynamic way of seeing: a radically aware way of thinking and comprehending our complex world which is as applicable in the creative arts and business world as it is in science.'
-- Simon Robinson, editor of Transition Consciousness
'Bortoft's aim is to help readers see and understand the world and human experience in a more integrated, compelling way. Exploring and developing previous work on the fascinating relationship between parts and whole through the lenses of phenomenology, hermeneutics, and Goethean science, Bortoft demonstrates convincingly the need to shift attention from what is experienced to the experience of what is experienced. In a writing style that is both accessible and penetrating, he shows how to do this by drawing on examples from our experience of meaning, understanding and language. By teaching ourselves to become more sensitive to this dynamic way of seeing, we learn to "take appearance seriously".
-- David Seamon, Professor, Kansas State University, and Editor, Environmental and Architectural Phenomenology
Henri Bortoft is a Floris Books featured author. Read all about this author's life and work on our dedicated author page.
Henri Bortoft (1938-2012) was a physicist with an interest in the history of science and continental philosophy. He authored the well-received book, The Wholeness of Nature: Goethe's Way of Science (Floris Books, 1996, 2005).