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Light in GermanyScenes from an Unknown Enlightenment$
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T. J. Reed

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780226205106

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226205243.001.0001

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Apples and After

Apples and After

The Gravity of Science

Chapter:
(p.116) Chapter 7 Apples and After
Source:
Light in Germany
Author(s):

T.J. Reed

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226205243.003.0007

Science as an alternative way of understanding the world had been growing stronger since the sixteenth century (Copernicus, Galileo, Francis Bacon). Newton’s falling apple now carried more weight than Eve’s forbidden fruit. The young Kant is as much a scientist as a philosopher; Goethe, in reaction against orthodox Newtonian physics (but what is orthodoxy to the Enlightenment?) insists on placing science in the full human context; in another area, biology, Goethe is a forerunner of evolutionary theory. Lichtenberg skirmishes at the margins of the whole of science, Moritz sets empirical psychology going, Alexander von Humboldt combines the sciences in a work entitled ‘Cosmos’—a general vision is still possible.

Keywords:   astronomy, empiricism, Kant the scientist, Lisbon earthquakes, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Isaac Newton, specialisation, physiognomics, psychology

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