The Wholeness of Nature

Goethe's Way of Science

Henri Bortoft

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Examines the phenomenological and cultural roots of Goethe's approach to science, and argues that Goethe's insights represent the foundation for a future science of nature.

234 x 156 mm
Floris Books
Philosophy of the Natural World
432 pages
Publication date:
24 Oct 1996


The scientific work of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) represents a style of learning and understanding which is largely ignored today. Modern science tends to break objects down in a purely analytical way; by contrast, Goethe was interested in the 'whole' of a phenomenon, and in particular the relationship between the object and the observer.

In this illuminating study, Henri Bortoft examines the phenomenological and cultural roots of Goethe's approach to science. He argues that Goethe's insights, far from belonging to the past, represent the foundation for a future science respectful of nature.


'Henri Bortoft is one of the world's foremost experts on Goethean science.'
David Lorimer, Scientific & Medical Network

'This is a gem of a book. Bortoft has made Goethe's thinking available in a particularly clear way.'
-- David Peat, author of Blackfoot Physics

'Bortoft shows how the contemporary impulse for participatory science can be realized. What's more, the book is beautifully written.'
-- Brian Goodwin, author of Nature's Due and How the Leopard Changed Its Spots


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 also authored Taking Appearance Seriously (Floris Books, 2012).

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