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Goethe’s Morphology of Stones: Between Natural History and Historical Geology

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Part of the Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science book series (BSPS,volume 134)

Abstract

In 1784, while studying granite, Goethe wrote the following: “Ich fürchte den Vorwurf nicht, dass es ein Geist des Widerspruches sein müsse, der mich von Betrachtung und Schilderung des menschlichen Herzens, des jüngsten, mannigfaltigsten, beweglichsten, veränderlichsten, erschütterlichsten Teiles der Schöpfung zu der Beobachtung des ältesten, festesten, tiefsten, unerschütterlichsten Sohnes der Natur geführt hat” (Goethe, 1947–1949, hereafter LA I: 1, 58–59). The shift from The Sorrows of Young Werther to the study of rocks ended up being a permanent move for Goethe. Though he never wrote another work quite like Werther Goethe continually came back to his geological studies throughout the last fifty years of his life.

Keywords

  • Historical Geology
  • Mechanical Explanation
  • Harz Mountain
  • Mining Interest
  • Granite Boulder

These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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© 1991 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht

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Hamm, E. (1991). Goethe’s Morphology of Stones: Between Natural History and Historical Geology. In: Woodward, W.R., Cohen, R.S. (eds) World Views and Scientific Discipline Formation. Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science, vol 134. Springer, Dordrecht. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-011-3164-3_30

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-011-3164-3_30

  • Publisher Name: Springer, Dordrecht

  • Print ISBN: 978-94-010-5395-2

  • Online ISBN: 978-94-011-3164-3

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