Taking Appearance Seriously

The Dynamic Way of Seeing in Goethe and European Thought

$29.95 Floris Books ISBN 978-0-86315-927-5 Paperback 208 pages 6 1/4" x 9 1/4" Published:  January 2013

The history of Western metaphysics, from Plato onward, is dominated by the dualism of being and appearance. What something really is (its true being) is believed to be hidden behind the “mere appearances” through which it manifests. Twentieth-century European thinkers radically overturned this way of thinking. “Appearance” began to be taken seriously, with the observer participating in the dynamic event of perception.

In this important book, Henri Bortoft guides the reader through this dynamic way of seeing, exploring issues of how we distinguish things, how we find meaning, and the relationship between thought and words.

Expanding the scope of his previous book, The Wholeness of Nature, Bortoft shows how Goethean insights combine with this dynamic way of seeing in continental philosophy, to offer an actively experienced “life of meaning.”

Taking Appearance Seriously will be of interest to anyone who wants to understand the contribution and wider implications of modern European thought in the world today.


Preface and Acknowledgments

1. Into the Dynamic Way of Thinking
A Different Approach to Wholeness
Introduction to Phenomenology
The Act of Distinction
The Illusion of Independent Existence

2. Goethe and Modern Science
The Beginnings of Modern Science
The Temple of the Sun
Galileo and the New Science
Descartes Seeks Foundations
Newton and the Mathematical Physics of Nature
Goethe Returns to the Senses
Goethe and the Bimodal Brain

3. Goethe and the Dynamic Unity of Nature
The Idea of Metamorphosis
Protean Thinking
Goethe and Schelling
The Self-Differencing Organ
Becoming Other in Order to Remain Itself
The Archetypal Movement
Modes of Unity and the Bimodal Brain

4. The Philosophy of Unfinished Meaning
The Common Sense View
The Dynamic Approach
Aristotle and the Unitary Event
The Event of Understanding
The Hermeneutic Reversal
The Problem of Multiple Meaning
The One and the Many
The Act of Saying
Self-Differences of Meaning
Organic Hermeneutics
The Enhancement of Being

5. Catching Saying in the Act
Disclosure and Representation
Introduction into Language
Language and World
The Fallacy of the Proposition

6. Taking Appearance Seriously