top of page

Quotes on Goetheanism

"Goethe has served in some sense as an inspiration or a model for original work in the spirit of his method. This can be viewed as an ongoing research program within the context of a scientific 'paradigm'."[1] (Frederick Amrine)

"When being asked ‘what is Goethean science?’, there are as many answers as there are individuals who have embraced the practice. From a personal perspective, I often respond by giving my particular encountering of the world, which is to observe the phenomena in such a way that the sense of self may deeply participate in the object that is being encountered."[2] (Aonghus Gordon)

"Goetheanism is world-friendly understanding."[3] (Wolfgang Schad)

Goetheanism is a context-oriented scientific method[4]

"Goetheanism, as inspired by Rudolf Steiner at the beginning of the 20th century, complements the canon of methods of the natural sciences, ... with an approach that incorporates the context-creating function of concepts and the qualities of the particular object of research in each case." (p. 6)

"Goetheanism is an attitude of cognition that trains in all branches of science a careful immersion in the phenomena in which the object of research expresses itself under the most diverse conditions. It offers a methodological supplement to natural science in two respects: Firstly, a methodologically trained, synthesising activity is added to a one-sided analytical-atomistic thinking. It complements intellectual learning by seeking to grasp the ordering structure of manifold sensory perceptions as aesthetic experience. The precision of experimental logic only gains its relevance for the reality of life in which we encounter people, animals and plants through the conciseness of the description of contexts and overall forms. Secondly, a participatory attitude emerges in the self-acting connection with the object of research, which awakens a responsibility for contexts into which the results of science have an impact." (p. 8)

Goetheanism seeks out the real order-structure of the world by carefully uniting perceptions and concepts; it can make substantial contributions to natural science[5]

"Goetheanism assumes that ... one can experience the orderly content of the real external world and that genuine object cognition is possible. The decisive thing is to reach the object in its inherent lawfulness in cognition and to form concepts from it - and not only to find what the mind puts into it." (p. 189)

"What is special about Goetheanism is this sensitive bringing together of empiricism and theory, of perception and concept. ... A science that is in line with reality thus endeavours to illuminate experience with concepts that seek out its own qualities." (p. 189)

"With the assumption of the necessary unity of appearance and idea and the reality of the ideal, [Goetheanism] differs from a natural science oriented purely to the material. That the ideal has just as much reality as the physical is not thought of in natural science today. But this does not make Goetheanism an alternative science. All the elements are present in various scientific currents of modern times. Many good practical natural scientists naturally assume that one must describe the structure of order, and that atomistic reduction is by no means sufficient." (p. 191)

Goetheanism is a "science of wholes"[6]

"Goethe's method leads to an understanding of things as they appear in their natural context. In conventional science, an analytical approach is used to dissect observations and understand the resulting components as the cause of the whole. With Goethe's method, the details found through analysis can become more meaningful, because Goetheanism is a 'science of wholes'." (p. 21)


[1] Amrine, Frederick: An annotated bibliography. In: Goethe and the sciences: a reappraisal. Dordrecht 1987.

[2] Gordon, Aonghus: Goethean science at Ruskin Mill Trust. In: The Field Centre Journal of Research and Practice, 2/2019.

[3] Schad, Wolfgang: Was alles ist Goetheanismus? In: Goetheanimus und Medizin, Dornach 2022.

[4] Edelhäuser, Friedrich; Richter, Ruth; Soldner, Georg: Goetheanismus und Medizin. Dornach 2022.

[5] Rosslenbroich, Bernd: Methodische Aspekte bei der Untersuchung der Autonomieentwicklung in der Evolution. In: Edelhäuser, Friedrich; Richter, Ruth; Soldner, Georg: Goetheanismus und Medizin. Dornach 2022, S. 187-203.

[6] van der Bie, Guus: Wholeness in science. A methodology for pattern recognition and clinical intuition. Driebergen 2012.


bottom of page