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A Goethean Phenomenological Approach
to Science and Biology: Bibliography

This is a partially annotated bibliography of books, book chapters, and articles, with emphasis on the life sciences. It includes only English language publications and is by no means complete; if you have suggestions or corrections please contact us.

Many articles by Nature Institute staff and affiliate researchers are not listed here, since they can be found by referring to Content Areas and Writings Ordered by Author.

I. General/Foundations/History

Goethe: Scientific Studies; the Collected Works, Vol. 12. Edited and translated by Douglas Miller (Princeton University Press, 1995)
This is probably the most comprehensive collection of Goethe's scientific writings in the English language at the present.

Goethe on Science: An Anthology of Goethe's Scientific Writings. Selected and introduced by Jeremy Nadler (Edinburgh: Floris Books, 1996)
A nice selection of Goethe's writings, often excerpts from essays and also aphorisms, ordered by themes.

Nature's Open Secret: Introduction to Goethe's Scientific Writings by Rudolf Steiner. (Great Barrington, MA: Anthroposophic Press, 2000)
These essays by Steiner, written between 1883 and 1897, still belong to the most penetrating elucidations of Goethe's scientific approach.

Goethe's Delicate Empiricism. A special issue of the journal Janus Head that contains many articles on Goethe's approach from a variety of perspectives. Published in 2005.

Goethe's Way of Science. Edited by David Seamon and Arthur Zajonc (Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 1998)
This excellent collection of essays by contemporary authors considers both the philosophy of a Goethean approach to science and examples of practical application in different fields.

The Wholeness of Nature by Henri Bortoft (Great Barrington, MA: Lindisfarne Press, 1996)
A masterful philosophical introduction to a Goethean approach to science.

Goethe and the Sciences: A Reappraisal. Edited by Frederick Amrine et al. (D. Reidel Pub. Co., 1987)
This volume contains many excellent discussions of Goethe's approach to science.

Goethe's Science of Living Form: The Artistic Stages by Nigel Hoffmann (Ghent, NY: Adonis Press, 2007)

The Marriage of Sense and Thought by Stephen Edelglass, Georg Maier, Hans Gerbert, John Davy (Great Barrington, MA: Lindisfarne Press, 1997)
A clear and concise discussion of a phenomena-based approach to science.

The Organism by Kurt Goldstein (New York: Zone Books, 1995)
Goldstein's main work, describing his holistic approach to science; most of the examples are drawn from neurobiology. A classic.

Toward a Phenomenology of the Etheric World. Edited by Jochen Bockemühl (Great Barrington, MA: Anthroposophic Press, 1985)
The contributions in this volume explore different applications of the Goethean approach in biology and physics. The contributions were written for an audience familiar with Rudolf Steiner's anthroposophy.

The Vortex of Life - Nature's Patterns in Space and Time by Lawrence Edwards (Edinburgh: Floris Books, 1993)

The Will to Create: Goethe's Philosophy of Nature by Astrida Orle Tantillo (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2002)

The Romantic Conception of Life: Science and Philosophy in the Age of Goethe by Robert J. Richards (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2002)

II. Botany

The Metamorphosis of Plants by J.W. von Goethe (Cambridge MA: MIT Press, 2009). This new edition contains beautiful color photographs and an introduction by Gordon Miller. Available from MIT Press

Goethe's Botanical Writings by J.W. von Goethe, translated by Bertha Mueller (Woodbridge, CT: Ox Bow Press, 1989).

Awakening to Landscape by Jochen Bockemühl (Dornach, Switzerland: Natural Science Section, Goetheanum).

In Partnership with Nature by Jochen Bockemühl (Wyoming, RI: Biodynamic Literature, 1981).

Metamorphosis of Plants by Jochen Bockemühl and Andreas Suchanke (Cape Town: Novalis Press, 1995).

A New Eye for Plants by M. Colquhoun and A. Ewald (Stroud, UK: Hawthorn Press, 1996).

The Plant, Vol. I and II by G. Grohman (Kimberton, PA: Biodynamic Farming and Gardening Assoc., 1989).

The Living World of Plants: A Book for Children and Students of Nature by G. Grohman (Fair Oaks, CA: AWSNA, 1999).

Planetary Influences upon Plants by E. M. Kranich (Wyoming, RI: Biodynamic Literature, 1984).

About Formative Forces in Plants by Dick von Romunde (Jannebeth Roell, 2003).

“The Concept of Morphological Polarity and Its Implication on the Concept of the Essential Organs and on the Concept of the Organisation Type of the Dicotyledonous Plant” by P. Schilperoord-Jarke in Acta Biotheoretica vol. 45 (1997), pp. 51-63. Available here.

“Goethe’s Metamorphosis of Plants and Modern Plant Genetics” by Peer Schilperoord-Jarke in Goethes Beitrag zur Erneuerung der Naturwissenschaften, edited by Peter Heusser (Bern: Verlag Paulhaupt, 2000). A translation by P. Schilperoord-Jarke is available here.

III. Zoology

Man and Mammals by Wolfgang Schad (New York: Waldorf Press, 1977)

The Flexible Giant: Seeing the Elephant Whole by Craig Holdrege (Ghent, NY: The Nature Insitute, 2003)

"Horns, Hooves, Spots, and Stripes: Form and Pattern in Mammals" by Mark Riegner. In Orion vol. 4, pp. 22-35 (1985)

Essays in Philosophical Zoology: The Living Form and the Seeing Eye by Adolf Portmann, Problems in Contemporary Philosophy, Vol. 20 (Lewiston, NY: The Edwin Mellen Press, 1991)

Animal Forms and Patterns by Adolf Portmann (New York: Schocken Books, 1967)

IV. Human Biology

Functional Morphology: The Dynamic Wholeness of the Human Organism by Johannes Rohen (Ghent, NY: Adonis Press, 2007)

The Dynamic Heart and Circulation. Edited by Craig Holdrege (Fair Oaks, CA: AWSNA, 2002)

Living With Your Body by Walther Buehler (London: Rudolf Steiner Press, 1996)

The Louis Bolk Institute in the Netherlands publishes "Bolk Companions to the Practice of Medicine" on topics such as anatomy, physiology, embryology, and biochemistry. They place the multitude of facts in medical textbooks in context with the help of a phenomenological approach.

V. Ecology

The Earth's Face by E. Pfeiffer (East Grinstead, UK: The Langthorn Press, 1988)

Eco-Geography by Andreas Suchantke (Hudson, NY: Anthroposophic Press, 2001)

Moon Rhythms in Nature by Klaus-Peter Endres and Wolfgang Schad (Edinburgh: Floris Books, 1997)

"Toward a Holistic Understanding of Place: Reading a Landscape Through its Flora and Fauna" by Mark Riegner. In Dwelling, Seeing, and Designing, D. Seamon, ed. (Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 1993)

VI. Genetics and Genetic Engineering

Genetics and the Manipulation of Life by Craig Holdrege (Hudson, NY: Lindisfarne Press, 1996)

Beyond Biotechnology by Craig Holdrege and Steve Talbott (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2008). To order this book from our bookstore, click here.

Genetic Engineering and the Intrinsic Value and Integrity of Animals and Plants,
Proceedings of a Workshop at the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh, UK 18-21 September 2002.
Edited by David Heaf & Johannes Wirz (Ifgene, 2002)

The Future of DNA. Edited by Johannes Wirz and Edith Lammerts von Bueren (Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1997)

"Progress Toward Complementarity in Genetics" by Johannes Wirz.

Here is a list of online resources relating to genetically engineered organisms—particularly their risks, regulation, and use.

VII. Evolution

Metamorphosis: Evolution in Action by Andreas Suchantke (Ghent, NY: Adonis Press, 2009)

Thinking Beyond Darwin by E.M. Kranich (Hudson, NY: Lindisfarne Press, 1999)

Developmental Dynamics by J. Verhulst (Ghent, NY: Adonis Press, 2003)

Rosslenbroich, Bernd (2009). “The Theory of Increasing Autonomy in Evolution: A Proposal for Understanding Macroevolutionary Innovations,” Biology and Philosophy vol. 24, pp. 623-44. doi:10.1007/s10539-009-9167-9 (paywalled) or

The Spirit in Human Evolution by Martyn Rawson (Fair Oaks, CA: AWSNA, 2003)

Hope, Evolution, and Change by John Davy (Stroud, UK: Hawthorn Press, 1986)

Childhood and Human Evolution by Friedrich Kipp (Ghent, NY: Adonis Press, 2005)

VIII. Color and Light

Theory of Colours by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1970; reprint of original English translation from 1840)

Catching the Light by Arthur Zajonc (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993)

Goethe Contra Newton: Polemics and the Project for a New Science of Color by Dennis L. Sepper (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988)

"Exploratory Experimentation: Goethe, Land, and Color Theory" by Neil Ribe and Friedrich Steinle. In Physics Today, July 2002 (

"Goethe's Theory of Color and Scientific Intuition" by Arthur Zajonc. In American Journal of Physics vol. 44, p. 327ff. (1976)

"Goethe's Colour Experiments" by Michael Wilson. In Yearbook of the Physical Society, London (1958)

IX. Astronomy

Sky Phenomena: A Guide to Naked Eye Observation of the Stars by Norman Davidson (Hudson, NY: Lindisfarne Press, 1993)

Astronomy: An Introduction by Hermann von Baravalle (Fair Oaks, CA: Rudolf Steiner College Press, 2000)

X. General Physics

Forming Concepts in Physics by Georg Unger (Spring Valley, NY: Parker Courtney Press, 1995)

XI. Fluid Dynamics

Sensitive Chaos by Theodore Schwenk (New York: Schocken Books, 1978)

Water: The Element of Life by Theodore Schwenk and Wolfram Schwenk (Hudson, NY: Anthroposophic Press, 1989)

XII. Teaching Phenomenological Science and Mathematics

A Phenomena-Based Physics. Manfred v. Mackensen (Fair Oaks, CA: AWSNA, 1994)
Vol. 1: Grade Six; Vol. 1: Grade 7; Vol. 3: Grade 8.

Phenomenological Organic Chemistry. Manfred v. Mackensen (Fair Oaks, CA: AWSNA, 2009), Class 9 Chemistry

Sensible Physics Teaching by Michael D'Aleo and Stephan Edelglass (Spring Valley, NY: Parker Courtney Press, 1999); for grades 6-8.

Fundamentals for Phenomenological Study of Chemistry by Frits Julius (Fair Oaks, CA: AWSNA, 2000); for grades 10-12

The Wonders of Waldorf Chemistry. David Mitchell (Fair Oaks, CA: AWSNA, 2001); for grades 7-9

Topics in Mathematics for the 10th Grade (Lesson Plan Initiative of the Pedagogical Research, 2008) .

Topics in Mathematics for the 11th Grade(Fair Oaks, CA: AWSNA)

Many articles on phenomenological science as taught in Waldorf Schools can be found in the Waldorf Science Newsletter; past issues can be ordered from AWSNA Publications:

Links to Other Organizations and Websites:

Here are some links to organizations that have programs inspired by the Goethean phenomenological approach to science.

Goethean Perspectives in Science

Goetheanum - The Natural Science Section, Dornach, Switzerland

This organization maintains a large language bibliography of articles and books in German on a Goethean approach to science, including scientific work inspired by Rudolf Steiner's anthroposophy.

The Life Science Trust

The Louis Bolk Institute

Regarding Landscapes

Goethean Perspectives in Social Science

The Proteus Initiative, Constantia, South Africa

Members of the Proteus Initiative have taken up the understanding and methods developed by Goethe for working with organic phenomena and applied them to complex social and developmental processes. Together with Crossfields Institute, the Proteus Initiative is offering in 2016 an M.A. degree program in "Social Reflective Practice."

Owen Barfield: Meaning, Science, and the Evolution of Consciousness

A summary of some of Owen Barfield's thought

Owen Barfield Literary Estate

Owen Barfield World Wide Website

The Barfield Society

To Order or Borrow Books concerning
Goethean, Phenomenological Science:

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