Goetheanismus - seine Methode und Bedeutung in der Wissenschaft des Lebendigen
Starting from Goethe’s approach to understanding the living world, this paper characterises as an important methodological tool the inner reproduction of processes of transformation on which the outer appearances of the plant are based. From this results a distinction regarding, on the one hand, the concept of the type as Bauplan, also attributable to Goethe, and, on the other hand, pure phenomenology.
Goethe’s exhortation to derive the visible plant forms from a mobile inner picture of the type (Urpflanze, primal plant), is illustrated with examples in relation to three plant families (crucifers, onion family and umbellifers). The phases of the ontogenetic development of herbaceous plants serves as a relational framework. In conclusion, a sketch is presented of how recognition of the laws of form of organisms, as an independent reality supplementing the physical phenomena in the context of modern biology, opens up a new field for research.