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Geological travellers in view of their philosophical and economical intentions: Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749–1832) and Caspar Maria Count Sternberg (1761–1838)

By
C. Schweizer
C. Schweizer
Institute of German Philology, University of Vienna
,
Dr Karl-Lueger-Ring 1, A-1010 Vienna
,
Austria
(e-mail: c.schweizer@gmx.at)
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Published:
January 01, 2007

Abstract

Two geological travellers, who clearly differ in their approach to scientific questions and their interpretation, are presented. Goethe was mainly interested in natural phenomenon and linking the interpretation of his observations in a deductive approach to a philosophically and psychologically influenced, more general view of natural mechanisms. Sternberg, on the other hand, chose an inductive approach in his conclusions from geological observations and never inclined to any philosophical explanations behind them. Goethe's natural philosophy behind his scientific concepts was strongly formed by Baruch de Spinoza (1632–1677) and led to his own subjective approach of interpreting scientific phenomena. However, Sternberg's knowledge of geognosy along the formations in the Habsburg region and in Germany is based on numerous observations at various locations and on the comparison of his findings, having a vast general knowledge on the geology of a wide area. Goethe and Sternberg's correspondence between 1820–1832 gives insight into the specific differences between these two travellers and their individual methods of geological investigation.

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Contents

Geological Society, London, Special Publications

Four Centuries of Geological Travel: The Search for Knowledge on Foot, Bicycle, Sledge and Camel

P. N. Wyse Jackson
P. N. Wyse Jackson
Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland
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Geological Society of London
Volume
287
ISBN electronic:
9781862395350
Publication date:
January 01, 2007

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