Le idee che si vedono. Forma e percezione in Goethe e Paolo Bozzi

Giacomoni, Paola

This article presents a comparative analysis of Paolo Bozzi’s experimental phenomenology and of J.W. Goethe’s morphological method, which is considered one of the Italian scholar’s sources of inspiration. Starting from Bozzi’s education within the Gestalt psychology tradition, under the guidance of Gaetano Kanizsa, and taking into account also the recent interest shown for Bozzi by several exponents of the analytic tradition, this work draws attention to the basic features of the methodology adopted by the perceptologist in his work. In this regard, what proves to be fundamental is the role played by the various techniques of inter-observation by means of an active and practical approach to the material, rather than a purely contemplative one. Bozzi’s interest in Goethe’s naturalistic writings, from the morphological ones to the Farbenlehre (Theory of colours), makes it possible to highlight significant analogies and conceptual continuities with Goethe’s epistemology. First of all, a link between these two styles of research is provided by the subject “form,” or Gestalt, and its direct, accurate observation, as well as its presence in non-conventional contexts and its non-metaphysical character. Furthermore, it is evident that both authors employ a conception of experiment that is repeatable, conducted almost always in conditions that are open and not of the laboratory. Not less relevant is their scientific style, in which the distinction between the context of discovery and the context of justification plays no role. At the same time the extraordinary communication skills of both authors play a crucial role: their nonacademic way of writing accompanied by a sense of rigour and correctness makes the results outstanding and unique.


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Physis: rivista internazionale di storia della scienza

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December 15, 2015