On the Subject of Goethe: Hermann von Helmholtz on Goethe and Scientific Objectivity

Dani Hallet

Abstract


In their recent book, Objectivity, Lorraine Daston and Peter Galison oppose the image of the scientist as a rational, objective, an dispassionate investigator of nature with that of the intuitively guided and emotionally volatile artistic genius. The authors argue that the emergence of objectivity as an epistemic virtue in nineteenth-century scienti?c practices was intimately tied to a newly perceived threat to knowledge: that of the subjective self. In their discussion, Daston and Galison cite the artist’s creative imposition of ideas on the world as quintessentially subjective and opposed to science.

Full Text: PDF