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Reenchanted Science: Holism in German Culture from Wilhelm II to Hitler (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 31. Januar 1999

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Pressestimmen

Anne Harrington has confirmed the status of German culture in the first half of this century as the principal crucible of modernity.--Daniel Johnson "The Times Literary Supplement "

"Reenchanted Science" succeeds marvelously in demonstrating the complexity with which science is embedded in its own historical and cultural moment.... A great sense of nuance and a deftly constructed narrative.... Hardly any study of Weimar culture has so masterfully evoked the complexity of its history with such clarity of exposition.--Luke Springman "Configurations "


Anne Harrington has confirmed the status of German culture in the first half
of this century as the principal crucible of modernity.
--Daniel Johnson "The Times Literary Supplement "


"Reenchanted Science" succeeds marvelously in demonstrating the
complexity with which science is embedded in its own historical and cultural
moment.... A great sense of nuance and a deftly constructed narrative....
Hardly any study of Weimar culture has so masterfully evoked the complexity
of its history with such clarity of exposition.
--Luke Springman "Configurations "

"Anne Harrington has confirmed the status of German culture in the first half of this century as the principal crucible of modernity."--Daniel Johnson, "The Times Literary Supplement"

""Reenchanted Science" succeeds marvelously in demonstrating the complexity with which science is embedded in its own historical and cultural moment.... A great sense of nuance and a deftly constructed narrative.... Hardly any study of Weimar culture has so masterfully evoked the complexity of its history with such clarity of exposition."--Luke Springman, "Configurations"

Synopsis

By the 1920s in Central Europe, it had become a truism among intellectuals that natural science had "disenchanted" the world, and in particular had reduced humans to mere mechanisms, devoid of higher purpose. But could a new science of "wholeness" heal what the old science of the "machine" had wrought? Some contemporary scientists thought it could. These years saw the spread of a new, "holistic" science designed to nourish the heart as well as the head, to "reenchant" even as it explained. Critics since have linked this holism to a German irrationalism that is supposed to have paved the way to Nazism. In a penetrating analysis of this science, Anne Harrington shows that in fact the story of holism in Germany is a politically heterogeneous story with multiple endings. Its alliances with Nazism were not inevitable, but resulted from reorganizational processes that ultimately brought commitments to wholeness and race, healing and death into a common framework.Before 1933, holistic science was a uniquely authoritative voice in cultural debates on the costs of modernization.

It attracted not only scientists with Nazi sympathies but also moderates and leftists, some of whom left enduring humanistic legacies. Neither a "reduction" of science to its politics, nor a vision in which the sociocultural environment is a backdrop to the "internal" work of science, this story instead emphasizes how metaphor and imagery allow science to engage "real" phenomena of the laboratory in ways that are richly generative of human meanings and porous to the social and political imperatives of the hour.

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Format: Taschenbuch
This book is well worth reading. One cannot live in Germany without noticing the wide acceptance of "Heilpraktiker", the practicioners of pseudo-scientific 'holistic medicine' (homeopathy). Anne Harrington's book traces the growth of 'holistic' ideas in biology and medicine in Germany the last century as steming from Goethe's anti-scientific (anti-Newtonian) influence into the Nazi era, and the influence of former Nazis on the Green movement (Why not? They've influenced nearly everything else). An irritation: the book shows a picture of a Swiss alpine lake as an example of unrealistic romanticism. The Swiss lake and alpine scene are, however, real!
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15 von 17 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen German Holistic Visions Versus "The Machine". 30. Juli 2004
Von New Age of Barbarism - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
_Reenchanted Science: Holism in German Culture from Wilhelm II to Hitler_ by Anne Harrington is an important book that takes a look at an alternative perspective that grew out of nineteenth century science within Germany in particular which may be called "holism". The central idea behind holism is to perceive the world in terms of "whole" in accordance with the tenet that "the whole is greater than the sum of its parts" in opposition to the mechanistic science - rationalism, materialism, positivism, Darwinism, and capitalism - that had grown out of the French revolution. German holism bears especially the influences of Kant and Romanticism (as well as Schopenhauer, Schelling, Hegel, and Haeckel and Bergson) and may be described as mystical, metaphysical, influenced by "irrationalism" and "life philosophy". In particular, the writings of Goethe are frequently found opposed to the mechanistic/deterministic views of Newton. In biology, Darwinism and the "man as machine" motif are considered anathema and instead a more unified view of man in terms of his spiritual essence is sought for. In terms of politics, German holism bore the brunt of the period of crisis culminating in the First World War, thus becoming anti-democratic (even aristocratic), conservative, or reactionary. Also, many of the German holistic scientists were influenced by Richard Wagner or Chamberlain, especially with regard to anti-Semitism. This book begins with Max Weber's famous speech against mysticism in science and takes a look at several chief figures who may be described as holistic scientists (including Jakob von Uexkull - behavioral biologist, Constantin von Monakow - clinical neurologist, Max Wertheimer - Gestalt psychologist, and Kurt Goldstein - holistic neuropsychiatrist) as well as the difficult subject of the influence of holism on the Nazis (eugenics, euthanasia movements, etc.). Jakob von Uexkull was an important aristocratic biologist who under the influence of Kantian subjectivism proposed a "soap bubble" theory of the scientist as observer, which he called the Umwelt theory (a term which was later deployed by ecologists to describe the ecological surroundings of an animal). Uexkull was a friend of both Hans Driesch, an important voice for "vitalism" within biology, and Houston Stewart Chamberlain. In Uexkull's view both Darwin and Haeckel were mistaken, and he sought to bring out the contrast between the Darwinian viewpoint and his holistic viewpoint in what may be termed "the gorilla-machine". In his play "God or Gorilla", Uexkull writes, "It is . . . for the individual person not a matter of indifference whether the world is ruled by a moral or an amoral principle. Eventually there comes a day, even for the most confirmed atheist, when he must address himself to [the problem of] the Rule of the Universe. If - instead of a Spirit who, standing over the people, produced him and his companions, and at the same time speaks his conscience to him - if he should then find nothing but a lifeless machine that mocks all his heart's yearnings, then this machine will begin to take on a satanic life. A horrible grotesque face grins at him. This is what [William Jennings] Bryan has identified as the Gorilla. Omnipotence has fallen into the hands of an ape-like monster." And, later Uexkull was to write to his friend Chamberlain, "With the destruction of Christianity and its God, the human being stops being human and becomes something worse than a beast; he becomes a machine, the most pitiless being of all" revealing his opposition to mechanism and Darwinism. Later Uexkull was to write a reactionary and anti-democratic work entitled _Biology of the State_ which argued for a race-based and medieval view of the state which influenced some National Socialists. A second important holistic scientist is that of Constantin von Monakow, who was influenced by his early Russian orthodox upbringing as well as belief in a household demon called the Domowoi. Monakow worked in Switzerland as a clinical neurologist on the brain injured and his views came to increasingly resemble those of a fellow Swiss, the psychoanalyst Carl Gustav Jung. Monakow proposed a theory of the "horme" much like the "entelechy" of Hans Driesch as his guiding principle. He argued that the mind must undergo a breakdown ("diaschisis"). Other influences on Monakow included Sigmund Freud (whose view of human nature he sought to overcome in his search for God) and the neurologist John Hughlings Jackson. A third series of holistic scientists are those who created the theory of the Gestalt (particularly within psychology). Although individuals such as Chamberlain would use this term to refer to the unity of the German Volk, Gestalt psychology came to be dominated by a Jewish influence. The basic principle involved was that "the whole exceeds the sum of its parts", and individuals involved in the creation of this viewpoint include the philosopher Christian von Ehrenfels, the psychologist Max Wertheimer who later was forced to flee Germany along with many other Jewish radicals when the Nazis came to power, and the German psychologist and student of Wertheimer, Wolfgang Koehler. Wertheimer came to embrace a leftist political vision championing democracy and freedom, but also arguing against relativistic concepts of "truth" and "number" which he believed to be at root in Nazism. A fourth holistic scientist is that of the Jewish psychiatrist Kurt Goldstein. Goldstein argued against what he believed was the "therapeutic nihilism" of his time in his work with brain injured soldiers. He was influenced by such thinkers as Ernst Cassirer, Goethe, phenomenology (Husserl), and existentialism (Merleau-Ponty, Tillich). The book ends with a discussion of Nazi holism in medicine and euthanasia as well as the subsequent role of holism in the philosophy of the German Green party. I believe the other reviewers have been profoundly unfair to this particular point of view, holism. Indeed, Gestalt psychology played a large role in interaction with Albert Einstein. Also, in one interpretation the Nazi bureaucracy may be perceived as a continuation of the mechanistic thinking which began in the French Revolution and not as an overflowing of holistic (mystical?) ideas within science.
4 von 7 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Holistic horror shows 22. Dezember 2002
Von John C. Landon - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
This is a very useful overview of the history and legacy of holism in German Science concluding in the period of Uexhull, Driesch and also the gestalt psychologists, with particular attention to the fiasco of Weimar period, which gave the subject a bad name indeed. The book thus traces, in part, the roots of this tradition back to the generation before Darwin, in the era of the first developmentalists, following Schelling, Kant and Goethe. Even as Darwinian reductionism begins to generate its own limitations, the counter tradition begins to fall into an abyss where the confused 'profundities' of well-meaning (perhaps) thinkers suddenly find themselves in the cultural quagmire of Nazism. The book opens with an account of Weber's famous speech on 'disenchantment'. The reenchantment was a bit of a walpurgisnacht.
3 von 9 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen On the anti-scientific origins of 'holism' 31. Mai 2000
Von Professor Joseph L. McCauley - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
This book is well worth reading. One cannot live in Germany without noticing the wide acceptance of "Heilpraktiker", the practicioners of pseudo-scientific `holistic medicine' (homeopathy). Anne Harrington's book traces the growth of `holistic' ideas in biology and medicine in Germany the last century as steming from Goethe's anti-scientific (anti-Newtonian) influence into the Nazi era, and the influence of former Nazis on the Green movement (Why not? They've influenced nearly everything else). An irritation: the book shows a picture of a Swiss alpine lake as an example of unrealistic romanticism. The Swiss lake and alpine scene are, however, real!
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