Download Goethe contra Newton: Polemics and the Project for a New by Dennis L. Sepper PDF

By Dennis L. Sepper

This e-book explains the history and reason of the German poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's infamous assault on Isaac Newton's vintage concept of white gentle and hues. although the advantages of Goethe's colour technology, as complex in his substantial Zur Farbenlehre, have frequently been said, it's been virtually unanimously proclaimed invalid as physics. How may possibly Goethe were so unsuitable? In his e-book, Dennis Sepper exhibits that the condemnation of Goethe's assaults on Newton has been in line with inaccurate assumptions in regards to the historical past of Newton's concept and the equipment and pursuits of Goethe's colour technological know-how. by means of illuminating the old historical past and the experimental, methodological, and philosophical facets of Goethe's paintings, the writer exhibits that his colour idea is in an incredible experience certainly actual and that, as at the same time poet, scientist, historian, and thinker, Goethe controlled to count on vital twentieth-century learn not just within the historical past and philosophy of technological know-how, yet even in colour technological know-how itself.

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Extra info for Goethe contra Newton: Polemics and the Project for a New Science of Color

Example text

Furthermore, the number of colors one sees, their hue, and the proportion of the entire spectrum that each area of color occupies all vary with changing positions of the screen. Nor is it strictly true that the rays of the sun are parallel before refraction. Yet the entire description is predicated on the postulated existence of real rays that can be represented by geometric lines. This supposition is traditional in the theory of geometric optics and was already well established in Newton's day.

Only after the emergence of his mature pluralism — in which there is no longer a single, unambiguous propositional truth, in which there is even room for a Newtonian approach - did he openly polemicize against the Newtonian theory. As ironic as this may seem, that mature pluralism was accompanied by polemics, it was precisely the pluralistic spirit, rooted in an understanding of the theory-laden nature of the phenomena, that virtually mandated a public confrontation with a generally prevailing theory that ruled over the minds and experience of scientists and laymen alike.

Because the paths of light rays undergoing refraction are in principle reversible, if a violetproducing ray followed the indicated line from V to the prism, it would travel the line EP, as would the blue-producing ray following the line from B, and so forth across the spectrum for points VBGYR and all intermediate points. Thus EP will be a white-producing ray if we can manage to get all the components of white to follow their respective paths so as to be refracted into EP. 3 The upper part of the wall (WW) is painted black.

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