The Goethean method as a complement to conventional science

Modern science is in danger of fragmentation and of becoming a study of artificial abstractions which become increasingly severed from reality.

As translated from Maurice Merleau-Ponty in  L’Œil et l’Esprit

 

“Science manipulates things and gives up living in them. It makes its own limited models of things; operating upon these indices or variables to effect whatever transformations are permitted by their definition, it comes face to face with the real world only at rare intervals. Science is and always will be that admirably active, ingenious, and bold way of thinking whose fundamental bias is to treat everything as though it were an object-in-general – as though it meant nothing to us and yet was predestined for our own use.”

 

Introducing the Goethean method brings back the connection between the investigator and the subject under investigation.

This review by Bo Dahlin investigates science education in relation to a phenomenological approach.

An example of the two approaches to investigation can be seen in the contrast between Newton and Goethe in their methods of studying colour. There has been much debate about the rights and wrongs of these approaches with sides being taken. Would it not be more fruitful to look at both, not as competing theories but as two different ways of looking at the phenomena. Newton is trying to exclude the investigator from the processes while Goethe is trying to understand how things stand in relation to the investigator. They are not investigating the same thing. Goethe was studying colour while Newton was studying optics.

With the advances in knowledge brought about by modern science we can now apply the Goethean participatory method to the world around us with added wonder. By including the pole of Goethean science, modern science is rescued from its one-sidedness and we get science which is unified in its polarity.

233 thoughts on “The Goethean method as a complement to conventional science

  1. CharlieM,

    I’m still missing what additional benefits “Goethean” science brings to scientific endeavour. Additional, Charlie, I emphasize.

  2. CharlieM: Rhesus macaques can be studied in the field or they can be studied in a lab. These are two different methods of investigation and a researcher can do either or both of them.

    I fail to understand. If successful scientists have already incorporated the worthwhile aspects of Goethean science as you appear to claim, then what exactly is the point of this OP?

    CharlieM: In order to understand brain processes you had to learn about them. In composing the paragraph above you have used thinking to bring the knowledge you have gained into a conscious relationship. Certainly brain processes were involved in this conscious activity, but what was it that was using these processes?

    That was me.

    CharlieM: I look up at a thrush singing in a tree. Where in the brain is the coordinated impression of the sights and sounds that enters my consciousness as the meaningful ideation of the thrush?

    KN already told you: the coordinated processing of sights and sounds in your brain IS what you consciously experience as the ideation of a trush. You might as well ask where among all those falling drops of water the rain exactly can be found.


  3. Kantian Naturalist
    : Suppose I’m looking at a coffee cup. I perceive the various sensible qualities it has, unfolding over time as I look it, reach out my arm, prepare my fingers to grasp the handle, prepare the right muscular tension in my arm for lifting it, wrap my fingers around the handle, and bring the mug to my lips, where I slowly tilt it until the desired amount of coffee is gently poured into my mouth.

    On the Steinerian story, the job of the intellect is to take all of the sensory images and combine them in order to yield an exact replica of the real, mind-independent object. My question is, how can we ever verify that we have done so correctly? How can I ever determine whether the coffee mug as I have reconstructed it in my imagination based on sensory images exactly matches the real coffee mug?

    It seems to me that this would require that the intellect has a capacity to veer around the sensations, and look at the world directly without any sensory or imaginative component, and thus be able to compare the real mug with the imagined one.

    But unless the intellect has such a capacity, there is no way of comparing the imagined mug with the real mug, and thus no entitlement to say that one does or does not correspond to the other.

    In the way that Steiner advocated the Goethean method we do not just take the mug, examine it and create a mental image of an imagined mug. What we should be doing is adding the idea of the mug, the concept “mug” to the perception. What does this entail? What is the specific mug telling us?

    If I had the mug pictured below in front of me and was examining it using the Goethean method, I would say that it is an object that has been designed and takes the general shape of drinking vessels that have been designed by humans throughout history. It is an earthenware object and somebody has decided on its size, shape and pattern. A glaze has been applied to It which makes it suitable for containing liquid, and it has been fired in a kiln or oven. I would call it a mug rather than a cup because of its straight edge design. Although both mug and drinking cup would come under the concept of drinking vessel. I can go on thinking about it and I can separate everything which is essential from that which is non-essential in its attributes as a vessel made for the purpose of drinking hot liquids. The idea of the mug involves its history and its relationship to human creativity.

    The replica in my mind is dependent on me alone, while the idea of the mug does not depend on my subjectivity. The Goethean method goes far beyond making mental replications. It adds that which rightly belongs to the entity under study but has been left out in the perceiving.

  4. Kantian Naturalist:
    CharlieM: If not moral certainty then moral freedom which connects us to the Divine.

    Kantian Naturalist: If you want to say that moral freedom connects us to the Divine, by all means. Only that’s definitely not at all Kant’s view.

    An excerpt from this book reads:

    For Kant, what is divine is above all autonomous human freedom…

    Unfortunately, I don’t have access to the context of this quote. I know that there is disagreement in how to interpret Kant and since you are better informed on Kant than me, I am prepared to accept that I may be wrong here.

    CharlieM: I’ll amend that to what we perceive in the world around us is only partial reality.

    Kantian Naturalist: Well, if we’re talking Kant’s view, then the reality that we perceive is the only reality that we can know anything about.

    True. And I disagree. We can get beyond our subjective perceptions.

    CharlieM: But doesn’t Kant believe that space and time are mind dependent entities?

    Kantian Naturalist: “Entities’ isn’t quite the right word here. Space and time are forms of sensible intuition. Here Kant is very Aristotelian: to say that space and time are forms is to say that they are structures. Their content or “matter” is the sensory qualities.

    So he would say that time and space are the structures of sensible intuition. But that doesn’t help unless we know what sensible intuition is.

    He contrasts sensible intuition with “intellectual intuition,” is what God and angels would have (if they existed): the capacity to be directly affected by an object’s essence, without any sensory mediation.

    I think it’s tolerably clear why space and time are structures of sensible intuition. But it’s much less clear why those are the only structures of sensible intuition, or indeed if Kant has analyzed sensible intuition correctly.

    As it so happens, when it comes to the structure of sensible intuition I far prefer Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenology of lived embodiment, and his analysis of the interdependence between body, movement, and perception.

    I can see I’m going to have to read up on this a bit more.

    CharlieM: Being related to something is not the same as being something. Do you believe your thoughts and decisions are not just accompanied by, but determined by electrical and chemical signals?

    Kantian Naturalist: My thoughts and decisions could be determined by electrical and chemical signals only if they were separate things, which is what I am denying.

    You know your thoughts by direct experience. Scientific investigations have discovered that electrical and chemical activity in the brain takes place at the same time as conscious activity. But thinking involves brain activity only when it is accompanied by feeling and willing. And in normal life these three are together and so are accompanied by neuronal activity. But there are techniques which involve attempting to achieve pure thinking where feelings and desires are stilled. Through these processes brain activity is reduced to allow room for thinking.

    Kantian Naturalist: Rather, my view is that what I experience as my thoughts and decisions are the same as what a neuroscientist could observe as fantastically complex electro-chemical signals.

    So I accept a real distinction between what’s conceptually in view from the first-person and second-person perspectives, where we necessarily regard ourselves and others as agents, bound to epistemic and ethical norms — and what’s brought into view from the third-person perspective, where we can be conceptualized as fantastically complex dynamical systems.

    How would you describe the differences, if any, in the concept “triangle” between first, second and third person viewpoints?

    Kantian Naturalist: It’s because I accept this distinction between phenomenology and naturalism that I share your admiration for Goethe.

    But I do not think this distinction does any ontological work, and that is why I am opposed to Steiner.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  5. Alan Fox:
    CharlieM,

    I’m still missing what additional benefits “Goethean” science brings to scientific endeavour. Additional, Charlie, I emphasize.

    Look at how long it is taking us to realize that we are destroying the planet. A culture which is educated to focus on specifics without regard for the whole is heading for disaster. Take the “field” of agriculture and how the earth has changed due to the development of monoculture, pesticides, artificial fertilizers, using genomics to claim ownership of living organisms, and other such things. Listen to the likes of activists such as Vandana Shiva who speaks out against the giant chemical companies. Organic farming is a typical example of practicing the Goethean method. And people have been slow to catch on to the benefits of this method.

    The benefit of adopting the Goethean method is in having a sustainable future.

  6. Corneel:
    CharlieM: Rhesus macaques can be studied in the field or they can be studied in a lab. These are two different methods of investigation and a researcher can do either or both of them.

    Corneel: I fail to understand. If successful scientists have already incorporated the worthwhile aspects of Goethean science as you appear to claim, then what exactly is the point of this OP?

    Because their is still a great deal of work to be done in promoting methods that show respect for life and for the earth. Researchers and experimenters are not just outside observers and they should take care when they interfere with natural processes.

    CharlieM: In order to understand brain processes you had to learn about them. In composing the paragraph above you have used thinking to bring the knowledge you have gained into a conscious relationship. Certainly brain processes were involved in this conscious activity, but what was it that was using these processes?

    Corneel: That was me.

    So you recognize yourself as a rational, thinking ego?

    CharlieM: I look up at a thrush singing in a tree. Where in the brain is the coordinated impression of the sights and sounds that enters my consciousness as the meaningful ideation of the thrush?

    Corneel: KN already told you: the coordinated processing of sights and sounds in your brain IS what you consciously experience as the ideation of a thrush. You might as well ask where among all those falling drops of water the rain exactly can be found

    It cannot just be asserted that consciousness is brain activity. Concepts lead us beyond ourselves into external reality. My perceptions of a thrush belong to me, they are subjective, the idea of the thrush belong to the thrush, it is objective. (“Idea” being a group of concepts.)

    The concept of rain involves more than just water drops. It includes states of matter, the water cycle, gravity, thermodynamics, surface tension, the atmosphere, weather systems among other things.

  7. CharlieM: Look at how long it is taking us to realize that we are destroying the planet.

    I realized this long long ago. But there are still too many people who either don’t realize it or don’t care. And I don’t see how Goethean methods can help here.

  8. Alan Fox:
    Corneel: You might as well ask where among all those falling drops of water the rain exactly can be found.

    Alan Fox:
    😂

    The transient raindrops we experience are the perceptual counterpart to the concept rain.

  9. Neil Rickert:
    CharlieM: Look at how long it is taking us to realize that we are destroying the planet.

    Neil Rickert: I realized this long long ago. But there are still too many people who either don’t realize it or don’t care. And I don’t see how Goethean methods can help here.

    For one thing, over one hundred years of using the Goethean method would have avoided the misuse of chemical pesticides and fertilizers. How many people who took Goethean science seriously, would work for a company such as Monsanto?

  10. CharlieM: For one thing, over one hundred years of using the Goethean method would have avoided the misuse of chemical pesticides and fertilizers.

    How does that help?

    I have avoided pesticides and weed killers. But my neighbors still use them. That I avoid them is almost insignificant, compared with the widespread use.

  11. CharlieM: Organic farming is a typical example of practicing the Goethean method.

    On this we agree. ROFL. I suspect you don’t know much about ‘organic’ farming.
    Sustainable farming is the result of practicing the reductionist method.

  12. DNA_Jock:
    Sustainable farming is the result of practicing the reductionist method.

    According to Wikipedia, “Organic farming advocates claim advantages in sustainability.”

  13. CharlieM: Scientific investigations have discovered that electrical and chemical activity in the brain takes place at the same time as conscious activity. But thinking involves brain activity only when it is accompanied by feeling and willing. And in normal life these three are together and so are accompanied by neuronal activity. But there are techniques which involve attempting to achieve pure thinking where feelings and desires are stilled. Through these processes brain activity is reduced to allow room for thinking.

    Sheer nonsense.

  14. CharlieM: The transient raindrops we experience are the perceptual counterpart to the concept rain.

    Almost a koan! What’s the perceptual counterpart to the concept ‘raindrop’?

  15. Neil Rickert:
    CharlieM: For one thing, over one hundred years of using the Goethean method would have avoided the misuse of chemical pesticides and fertilizers.

    Neil Rickert: How does that help?

    I have avoided pesticides and weed killers. But my neighbors still use them. That I avoid them is almost insignificant, compared with the widespread use

    Whether or not it’s too late to educate people and change current practices is not the point. If all people including your neighbours took up the Goethean way tomorrow the situation would vastly improve.

    From the perspective of your neighbours it is simple, using these substances furthers their narrow aims. You understand the wider implications. Your approach is more in line with the Goethean method than their reductionist approach.

  16. DNA_Jock:
    CharlieM: Organic farming is a typical example of practicing the Goethean method.

    DNA_Jock: On this we agree. ROFL. I suspect you don’t know much about ‘organic’ farming.
    Sustainable farming is the result of practicing the reductionist method.

    Can you supply more details of what you mean by “sustainable farming”, maybe with an example or two.

    It could be said that in order to sustain the production of particular crops vast areas of rainforest need to be cleared to make the land available. Factory farming involves reducing animals to a means of obtaining the highest yields that can be obtained with little regard for the wellbeing of the animal. This leaflet gives us some information on caged hens in the UK. This is certainly an efficient way of sustaining egg production.

  17. Kantian Naturalist:
    CharlieM: Scientific investigations have discovered that electrical and chemical activity in the brain takes place at the same time as conscious activity. But thinking involves brain activity only when it is accompanied by feeling and willing. And in normal life these three are together and so are accompanied by neuronal activity. But there are techniques which involve attempting to achieve pure thinking where feelings and desires are stilled. Through these processes brain activity is reduced to allow room for thinking.

    Kantian Naturalist: Sheer nonsense.

    Of course nonsense is relative. It obviously makes no sense to you.

  18. Allan Miller:
    CharlieM: The transient raindrops we experience are the perceptual counterpart to the concept rain.

    Allan Miller: Almost a koan! What’s the perceptual counterpart to the concept ‘raindrop’?

    It is the fleeting image you see just before it hits a surface, or what you feel on your hand as you hold it out palm up and make the observation that it’s starting to rain. On the other hand the concept includes its context in time and space and its attributes. The perception is personal to you, the concept isn’t.

  19. CharlieM: It could be said that in order to sustain the production of particular crops vast areas of rainforest need to be cleared to make the land available.

    Well, you could say that, but it wouldn’t change the unsustainability of that development one iota. On the other hand, wait three years and you could call that crop “organic”.
    “Organic” certification is a marketing scam — hence my enjoyment of your “Organic farming is a typical example of practicing the Goethean method.”
    It sure is.

  20. DNA_Jock:
    “Organic” certification is a marketing scam — hence my enjoyment of your “Organic farming is a typical example of practicing the Goethean method.”
    It sure is.

    Are you referring to the techniques, or the marketing, as a scam? Organic farming actually does mean something distinct. If you mean that the techniques aren’t quite as presented by the marketing, I agree.

  21. Flint,

    “Organic” is a misdirection, in particular what is required and what is not required to attain the “organic” certification. Being sustainable, environmentally benign, or healthful has nothing to do with it. “Organic” certification is simply a marketing stunt, a con.
    As you noted in your wikipedia citation, “Organic farming advocates claim advantages in sustainability.” Of course they do. Quite often it is true. But it does not follow at all. A lot of the things advocated by the promoters of organic farming are in fact counter-productive in terms of sustainability.
    Compare sustainable agriculture with organic certification to see what I mean. My personal favorite: in the USA, “organic” foods can contain pesticides. They merely have to have implemented a “pesticide use reduction plan”. See the fun lists of what organic farmers can use in the production of crops and livestock.
    Let’s focus on sustainable agriculture.

  22. DNA_Jock:
    Flint,

    “Organic” is a misdirection, in particular what is required and what is not required to attain the “organic” certification. Being sustainable, environmentally benign, or healthful has nothing to do with it. “Organic” certification is simply a marketing stunt, a con.

    From what I have read, what you write is both true and perhaps misleading. Seems to me that the GOAL of what people think of as “organic” encompasses sustainable, environmentally benign, and healthful. But realistically, achieving all these goals ain’t cheap, and the products could not be sufficiently cost competitive.

    So “certification” has been watered down to nearly a meaningless buzzword, to the point where just about anything qualifies. I was also amused at the range of pesticides permitted, and I’m not sure if GMO was mentioned (I have no problem with GMO myself).

    I doubt that the buying public would quite grasp a range of degrees of organic on the packaging labels, but they probably wouldn’t relate “sustainable” to safe, healthy, or environmentally friendly either. I guess I should buy “organic” vegetables if the price isn’t too exorbitant, and wash before eating.

  23. DNA_Jock:
    CharlieM: It could be said that in order to sustain the production of particular crops vast areas of rainforest need to be cleared to make the land available.

    DNA-Jock: Well, you could say that, but it wouldn’t change the unsustainability of that development one iota. On the other hand, wait three years and you could call that crop “organic”.

    I suspect you don’t know much about ‘organic’ farming. 🙂

    They could not just wait three years because there would be a great deal of work to be done in preparing the land for organic use.
    Here the BBC describes rain forest land that has been cleared:

    Once the land is cleared of rainforest vegetation the soil is left bare. When it rains, the nutrients in the soil are washed away. The nutrient cycle stops because there are no plants or trees shedding leaves to replace the nutrients in the soil. The soil is no longer able to support plant life because it is not fertile. The roots of plants and trees no longer hold the soil together so it is easily eroded.

    In preparation for organic use the soil would need to be lab tested and a field assessment made. The land would need to be prepared to bring it up to the adequate standard of health and fertility. The time between clearance and productive use of the land would be spent partaking of a tremendous amount of intensive labour.

    Any organic farmer who took on this task would need to be very dedicated. Do you happen to know the percentage of cleared rainforest given over to organic farming compared to the percentage used for maintaining a monoculture?

    DNA-Jock: “Organic” certification is a marketing scam — hence my enjoyment of your “Organic farming is a typical example of practicing the Goethean method.”
    It sure is.

    You do have a point with your opening remark here. Bio-dynamic agriculture which is quintessentially organic has been practiced for the past century whether certified or not. Possession of a document is not what makes the method organic.

    in Australia the Purple Pear Biodynamic Permaculture Farm Tour video lets us see a biodynamic inspired farm in action. Mark Brown walks us round a mandala garden. I love the way they let the chickens convert the old plants and weeds into a fertile bed which then provides a rich, pest free patch for growing crops. They no longer have an organic certificate and they have no need of one. In the video he calls their methods morganic. 🙂 “It’s way more than organic”.

    Slowly but surely the Scottish agriculture industry in general is seeing the benefit, and moving towards genuine organic methods.This short video, “New Scottish Organic Action Plan 2016-2020”, was compiled by the Scottish Organic Forum to promote organic farming in Scotland.

    This Camphill community has been using bio-dynamic methods since its inception eighty years ago, long before there was any official incentive to bring organic farming to Scotland. I can testify that their produce is first class.

  24. Neil Rickert:
    CharlieM: The perception is personal to you, the concept isn’t.

    Neil Rickert: Concepts are personal, too. The name isn’t personal, but how we conceptualize is personal

    In what way is the concept “triangle” personal to you? We conceptualize by means of thinking. The thinking is a personal activity, the concept arrived at is not.

  25. CharlieM: In what way is the concept “triangle” personal to you?

    You ask the question. But then you answer it yourself:

    We conceptualize by means of thinking.

    I don’t do your thinking for you, and you don’t do my thinking for me. The concept cannot help but be personal.

    The thinking is a personal activity, the concept arrived at is not.

    And how do you imagine that the concept avoids being personal?

    You have been spewing bullshit about concepts for years (at this site). It has been pretty obvious all along that what you describe as your concepts doesn’t fit for me.

  26. Neil Rickert:
    CharlieM,

    I don’t use the word “concept” in that way.

    But you must have an idea of what a triangle is. If you had to describe a triangle to someone, with no idea what a triangle is, without using any visual props, what would you say?

  27. CharlieM: But you must have an idea of what a triangle is.

    Well, sure. But I don’t identify “concept of triangle” with “ideal triangle”. And how I idealize a triangle might depend on whether it is before breakfast. We don’t all idealize in the same way.

    Let’s not forget that there is the triangle as a musical instrument; there can be a love triangle; there is the Bermuda triangle. The concept has to do with what is common among those, and none of those is an ideal triangle.

  28. Yeah, last time around Charlie got quite confused about the Bermuda triangle.
    I think his concept included something about the ‘sum of the angles’, making it quite definitely personal.
    Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

  29. Flint: Seems to me that the GOAL of what people think of as “organic” encompasses sustainable, environmentally benign, and healthful.

    Yes, we agree. And that’s why I described it as a “misdirection”. ‘Organic’ is the naturalistic fallacy writ large.
    A lot of things that organic farmers promote are good, although scarcely novel, such as crop rotation. But then there are other things that are positives for sustainability that are organic-verboten: GMOs and irradiation.
    So ‘organic’ is very much a first world gloss. Kinda like…

  30. Neil Rickert:
    CharlieM: But you must have an idea of what a triangle is.

    Neil Rickert: Well, sure. But I don’t identify “concept of triangle” with “ideal triangle”. And how I idealize a triangle might depend on whether it is before breakfast. We don’t all idealize in the same way.

    Let’s not forget that there is the triangle as a musical instrument; there can be a love triangle; there is the Bermuda triangle. The concept has to do with what is common among those, and none of those is an ideal triangle

    You are confusing the idea of a triangle with a mental picture of a triangle.
    Is being made of metal an essential feature of “triangle”?
    Is points on the Earth’s surface an essential feature of “triangle”?
    Do you have an idea of the common element in all particular triangles?

  31. DNA_Jock to Neil Rickert:
    Yeah, last time around Charlie got quite confused about the Bermuda triangle.
    I think his concept included something about the ‘sum of the angles’, making it quite definitely personal.
    Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

    I’m not sure what Neil Rickert was trying to prove with the Bermuda Triangle question. Being an approximation, the Bermuda triangle is never going to conform to the ideal triangle.

    Maybe you could put into words what your idea of a triangle is?

  32. CharlieM: You are confusing the idea of a triangle with a mental picture of a triangle.

    Why would I need a mental picture of a triangle.

    You seem to confuse concepts with mental pictures.

  33. CharlieM: […] using genomics to claim ownership of living organisms, and other such things.

    Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.”

  34. CharlieM: Charlie: In composing the paragraph above you have used thinking to bring the knowledge you have gained into a conscious relationship. Certainly brain processes were involved in this conscious activity, but what was it that was using these processes?

    Me: That was me.

    Charlie: So you recognize yourself as a rational, thinking ego?

    Most of the times. I sure wonder where you are going with this.

    CharlieM: Me: You might as well ask where among all those falling drops of water the rain exactly can be found

    […]

    Charlie: The concept of rain involves more than just water drops. It includes states of matter, the water cycle, gravity, thermodynamics, surface tension, the atmosphere, weather systems among other things.

    Where among all the falling drops of water, the states of matter, the water cycle, gravity and thermodynamics and the surface tension of a billion drops, as well as the atmosphere including all weather systems can the rain be found? I am not sure you are making it any easier for yourself here.

    Memo to self: don’t expose Charlie to metaphors any more.

  35. DNA_Jock:
    Flint: Seems to me that the GOAL of what people think of as “organic” encompasses sustainable, environmentally benign, and healthful.

    DNA_Jock: Yes, we agree. And that’s why I described it as a “misdirection”. ‘Organic’ is the naturalistic fallacy writ large.
    A lot of things that organic farmers promote are good, although scarcely novel, such as crop rotation. But then there are other things that are positives for sustainability that are organic-verboten: GMOs and irradiation.
    So ‘organic’ is very much a first world gloss. Kinda like…

    Dr. Vandana Shiva who grew up in the foothills of the Himilayas gives her thoughts on “Why We Need an Organic Future”. If anyone should know about first world gloss, she should.

    She asks:

    Do we want agriculture to be part of surveillance or to be a part of the deepest love that humanity can have for the earth? Are we going to allow agriculture to be intelligence in terms of spying or intelligence in terms of the expression of life? Because life is intelligent. Life is not dead matter. They got it so wrong in the mechanical paradigm. Every cell is intelligent, every organism is intelligent, every human being is intelligent…The bacterium that becomes resistant to antibiotics is expressing its intelligence. Weed that becomes resistant to Roundup is expressing its intelligence…

    You can go beyond the border of your head and become one with the earth. We are one with the earth, we just need reminding. And gardening and organic farming helps remind us. We are of the earth.

    There might be an area of the earth confined within the bounds of the Bermuda Triangle but the concept “triangle” is not confined within the border of your head.

  36. Neil Rickert:
    CharlieM: You are confusing the idea of a triangle with a mental picture of a triangle.

    Neil Rickert: Why would I need a mental picture of a triangle.

    You seem to confuse concepts with mental pictures.

    So are you going to tell us what your idea of a triangle consists of without resorting to approximations?

  37. Corneel: CharlieM: […] using genomics to claim ownership of living organisms, and other such things.

    Corneel: Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.”

    Parents have dominion over their young children but this does not equate to ownership. And with this dominion comes a great deal of responsibility.

  38. CharlieM: Parents have dominion over their young children but this does not equate to ownership. And with this dominion comes a great deal of responsibility.

    And does this responsibility come with adoption of the Goethean method, for example with regard to childhood vaccinations?

  39. CharlieM: So are you going to tell us what your idea of a triangle consists of without resorting to approximations?

    Why do I need a singular idea of triangle? What’s wrong with having multiple ideas? Human language is full of metaphors, allusions, social conventions. It isn’t a “one size fits all” kind of thing.

  40. Corneel:
    CharlieM: In composing the paragraph above you have used thinking to bring the knowledge you have gained into a conscious relationship. Certainly brain processes were involved in this conscious activity, but what was it that was using these processes?

    Me (Corneel): That was me.

    Charlie: So you recognize yourself as a rational, thinking ego?

    Corneel: Most of the times. I sure wonder where you are going with this.

    And this ego you recognize as having more permanence than the substance of your body?

    Me (Corneel): You might as well ask where among all those falling drops of water the rain exactly can be found

    […]

    Charlie: The concept of rain involves more than just water drops. It includes states of matter, the water cycle, gravity, thermodynamics, surface tension, the atmosphere, weather systems among other things.

    Corneel: Where among all the falling drops of water, the states of matter, the water cycle, gravity and thermodynamics and the surface tension of a billion drops, as well as the atmosphere including all weather systems can the rain be found? I am not sure you are making it any easier for yourself here.

    Rain is a process within the water cycle, within the effects of gravity, within the earth’s atmosphere. Without the water cycle, gravity, and the atmosphere rainfall would not exist.

    Raindrops are individual volumes of water which also exist within these things. So what is the difference between these two things? Rain is a collective term and raindrops are the particulars but both consist of the same substance, water.

    Brain processes and consciousness cannot be compared in the same way because unlike rain and raindrops, there are not of the same substance. Electrical activity is amenable to measurement consciousness is not.

  41. Corneel:
    CharlieM: Parents have dominion over their young children but this does not equate to ownership. And with this dominion comes a great deal of responsibility.

    Corneel: And does this responsibility come with adoption of the Goethean method, for example with regard to childhood vaccinations?

    The Goethean method makes no demands. Personally my children had all the vaccinations that were recommended by the health service.

  42. Neil Rickert:
    CharlieM: So are you going to tell us what your idea of a triangle consists of without resorting to approximations?

    Neil Rickert: Why do I need a singular idea of triangle? What’s wrong with having multiple ideas? Human language is full of metaphors, allusions, social conventions. It isn’t a “one size fits all” kind of thing

    If I was to say that a triangle is an area determined by three non-colinear points what further ideas could you add?

    You can have as many ideas of triangles as you like but how many would be incidental and how many essential to the idea “triangle”?

  43. CharlieM: If I was to say that a triangle is an area determined by three non-colinear points what further ideas could you add?

    Why the area, rather than the perimeter? Why not allow it to be either, depending on context?

    You can have as many ideas of triangles as you like but how many would be incidental and how many essential to the idea “triangle”?

    I am not an essentialist.

  44. CharlieM: And this ego you recognize as having more permanence than the substance of your body?

    You mean do I believe in an afterlife? No, I don’t.

    CharlieM: Rain is a process within the water cycle, within the effects of gravity, within the earth’s atmosphere. Without the water cycle, gravity, and the atmosphere rainfall would not exist.

    Where is the rain, Charlie? What is it that is using gravity, water, thermodynamics and weather systems to make stuff wet?

    CharlieM: Raindrops are individual volumes of water which also exist within these things. So what is the difference between these two things? Rain is a collective term and raindrops are the particulars but both consist of the same substance, water.

    Rain does not “consist of water”. Raindrops consist of water, but gravity, the “states of matter”, thermodynamics and all the other stuff you said was involved do not.

    CharlieM: Brain processes and consciousness cannot be compared in the same way because unlike rain and raindrops, there are not of the same substance. Electrical activity is amenable to measurement consciousness is not.

    It is perfectly fine to compare consciousness to rain for making the point I was trying to make. Rain does not consist of water, digestion does not consist of stomach acids and consciousness does not consist of electrical activity.

  45. CharlieM: Personally my children had all the vaccinations that were recommended by the health service.

    Very good. So I suspected, which is why made the argument.

    But are anthroposophists not relying on Steiner’s endorsement of the Goethean method when they make their medical decisions?

  46. Neil Rickert:
    CharlieM: If I was to say that a triangle is an area determined by three non-colinear points what further ideas could you add?

    Neil Rickert: Why the area, rather than the perimeter? Why not allow it to be either, depending on context?

    Because a triangle is a two dimensional plane figure and the perimeter has just one dimension.

    CharlieM: You can have as many ideas of triangles as you like but how many would be incidental and how many essential to the idea “triangle”?

    Neil Rickert: I am not an essentialist.

    And why would this prevent you from defining a triangle?

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