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Showing posts from June 6, 2010

Making experience

The experiment as mediator [Vermittler] of object and subject. Notice, first, the word Vermittler – in an essay written in 1791, when the philosophical language that has come to characterize modern European philosophy, the language that Hegel employs, has not yet made itself irresistibly felt. It is in the egg. Goethe, who was extraordinary at picking up the faintest traces of an intellectual trend, is not so far away, here – the other shore is glimpsed. But still, in this essay Goethe works in the available Enlightenment thematic and uses a recognizably conversational vocabulary, even though he is turning against the Enlightenment idol, Newton, as well as against the reductionism of Enlightenment science. Remember, the Enlightenment was capacious enough to contain Swedenborg and Mesmer. Remember, remember – there is no capturing what the age sets loose. The essay begins with Goethe’s notion of the natural attitude of Man towards objects [Sache]. Objects either please him or repuls