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Re: Goethe and thinking again

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  • ted.wrinch
    I ve found a couple more illuminating quotes on this subject from the introductory section of Fisher s piece on art and Goethe: Goethe s theory of
    Message 1 of 3 , Nov 17, 2011
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      I've found a couple more illuminating quotes on this subject from the introductory section of Fisher's piece on art and Goethe:

      "Goethe's theory of metamorphosis is misunderstood if it is reduced to a series of propositions. As is well known, science for Goethe achieves its end not in abstract thought but in 'Anschauung' that involves the interpenetration of perception and thinking, thought and its object, understanding and imagination."

      "In Goethe's famous account of his propitious encounters with Schiller, Schiller responds to Goethe's symbolic sketch of the 'Urpflanze' by claiming that the 'Urplanze' is not an experience as Goethe had thought but an idea. Schiller was right to call it an idea but not in the sense that he had in mind for. For Schiller, the Kantian, it was impossible for an idea to correspond to an experience; this would require intellectual intuition and such intuitive thinking was regarded by Kant as inaccessible to the human intellect. In calling the 'Urpflanze' an idea, Schiller was suggesting that it was a 'regulative' idea, an idea that orders our knowledge but does not have ontological status. However, the 'Urpflanze' for Goethe is a 'constitutive' idea, which expresses the law of plant formation. Moreover, Goethe called the 'Urpflanze' an empirical experience, as it was characteristic of both his scientific methodology and his artistic genius to 'see' the universal in the particular, the see the particular as a particular variation and manifestation of the universal. He perceived simultaneously with the eye of the senses and the 'the eye of the spirit' - 'das Auge des Geistes'. In his essay 'Anschaunde Urteilskraft', Goethe claims to have developed precisely the intuitive and scientific understanding of nature's archetypes that Kant regarded as necessary for a science of the organic as such, but as denied to the discursive human intellect (for Kant there can be no Newton of biology). Goethe writes:

      'Why should it not…hold true that through an intuitive perception of enternally creative nature we may become worthy of participating spiritually in its creative processes? Impelled from the start by an inner need, I had striven unconsciously and incessantly towards the archtype, the typical, and had even succeeded in building up a method of presenting it which conformed to nature'

      "

      MA 12:99; Goethe, Scientific Studies, 31-32; translation altered.

      T.

      Ted Wrinch


      --- In anthroposophy_tomorrow@yahoogroups.com, "ted.wrinch" <ted.wrinch@...> wrote:
      >
      > In fact, this is this years's edition of the Yearbook and the whole work is on Goethe's idealism! One of the contributions is by Dalia Nassar and is entitled: "'Idealism is nothing but genuine empiricism': Novalis, Goethe, and the Ideal of Romantic Science". So much for Der Staudi's dismissal of the ideal in Goethe!
      >
      > T.
      >
      > Ted Wrinch
      >
      >
      > --- In anthroposophy_tomorrow@yahoogroups.com, "ted.wrinch" <ted.wrinch@> wrote:
      > >
      > > People may remember my pointing out that Stephenson's book on Goethe's epistemology mentions Steiner only once in the following sentence:
      > >
      > > ""Rudolf Steiner's immensely influential formulation of Goethean perception as 'the awareness of the Idea in reality [as] the truly human communion' is much closer to Schelling than to Goethe"
      > >
      > > which Der Staudi made a central plank of his dismissal of Steiner's Goethe scholarship and which he characterised as:
      > >
      > > ""Many anthroposophists like to see Steiner as a sort of inheritor of Goethe. But
      > > Goethe described himself in 1796 as "an empiricist and realist" and was at times
      > > notably skeptical toward subjectivist approaches to knowledge."
      > >
      > > My sense for Goethe's thought made me think that Stephenson placed Goethe too far towards the empirical pole, thereby losing the characteristic Goethean balance (perhaps thereby reflecting a typical anglo-saxon tendency towards empiricism). Der Staudi I think was just using Stephenson's quote as a convenient buttress for his usual hostile Steiner criticism: Der Staudi is rarely interested in balance or truth in his scholarship and it is this that most of all vitiates the results of his work. I have been dipping into other sources of scholarship on Goethe on this topic, which is not very large, and came across what seemed to me a more balanced and recognisable position in the notes to Luke Fisher's piece, 'Goethe contra Hegel: The Question of the end of Art', in the Goethe Yearbook 18, volume 18, at p 151 et seq:
      > >
      > > 4. …In 'Zur Morphologie' Goethe speaks of the 'idea of life' as the 'idea of an eternal manifestation of divine being through nature' that is revealed in the interior of the human being through a rational-intuition (Vernunftanschauung) and is essential in the observation of living nature. MA 12:334….
      > >
      > > 17. "This characteristic of Goethe's approach is reflected in his scientific and aesthetic ideas; the scientific concept of the 'Urphanomen' and the aesthetic concept of the 'symbol' both concern a coincidence of the particular and the universal, although there are differences between these concepts (I discuss these terms later in the essay). At the time when Goethe's and Schiller's friendship began, Goethe's understanding of archetypes was not as philosophically developed as it became through his engagement with the work of Schiller and his engagement with the work of Kant, Niethammer, Fichte, Schelling, and Hegel (see MA 12:94-98). However it is important to state that Goethe never renounced his empirical approach, and that his idealism was an *objective* or *real* idealism. In relation to his contemporaries, Goethe's view of nature is perhaps closest to that of Schelling's. However, while Goethe's writings on natural science bear in part the character of a philosophy of nature, it is important to emphasise that Goethe's views were founded on a more empirical methodology than the 'Naturephilosophie' of Schelling and Hegel. Schiller spoke of Goethe's approach as a 'rational-empiricism' (MA 8.1:499ff). In the 'Maximen und Reflexionen', Goethe says one of the great tendencies of his age is the attempt to find a bridge between the ideal and the real, whether one starts with the real or the ideal. Along with Schiller's writings on aesthetics, Goethe no doubt had Schelling's 'naturphilosophie' in mind as an example of a path from the ideal to the real. Goethe sought, in contrast, to find the ideal in the real. These differences, of course, are matters of emphasis and not absolute differences.
      > >
      > > 19. For an excellent and nuanced discussion of the question of non-sensible intuition in Goethe and Kant see Eckart Forster, "Die Bedetung von Paragraphen 76,77 der Kritik der Urteilskraft fur die Entwicklung der nachkantishen Philosphie" [Teil 1], Zeitschrift fur philosophische Forschung, 56:2 (2002): 169-90. While Forster elaborates Goethe's 'intuitive understanding', elsewhere Goethe speaks of the 'rational-intuition' of the 'idea of life' (see n. 4), which also has bearing on Goethe's venturing beyond the Kantian limits.
      > >
      > > 24. Eckart Forster also articulates the way in which the idea of the plant exceeds the particulars in "Goethe and 'das Auge des Geistes'"; in reference to the Proteus of the leaf he writes "The ideal organ - the idea - is thus neither any existing leaf, nor is it a generalisation from all existing leaves, like a Lockean 'abstract idea'. Nor is it a primitive natural ancestor of the present plant from which the latter has evolved in a Darwinian manner. Rather, it is (comparable to Hegel's idea) a concrete universal, endowed with the power to manifest itself in endless spatio-temporal variations an Gestaltungen, none of which incorporates the idea completely but each of which represents the idea empirically, hence in a limited fashion. On this view, it is not the universal but the particular that is the abstraction" (97).
      > >
      > > http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=sXQMHySQ9LMC&pg=PA151&lpg=PA151&dq=goethe+the+purpose+is+set+forth&source=bl&ots=sIX7UQLDcw&sig=JbiIaTv8Tlj8evekL8k3dYLDNx8&hl=en&ei=tIWETrzqBsuV0QXbmJX1Dw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&sqi=2&ved=0CCMQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=goethe%20the%20purpose%20is%20set%20forth&f=false
      > >
      > > So, as per his usual technique, Der Staudi lifts a quote from Goethe, where Goethe apparently describes himself as 'an empiricist and realist' and ignores Goethe's overall approach to knowledge, where he also incorporates the ideal (Luke Fisher, perhaps slightly controversially, even describes him as an idealist) - what Der Staudi characteristically dismisses as 'subjectivist approaches to knowledge'. This dismissal is commonplace, typical and consistent with Der Staudi's whole approach to knowledge, which is demonstrably that of positivism, albeit he would strenuously deny it.
      > >
      > > T.
      > >
      > > Ted Wrinch
      > >
      >
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