H. B. Nisbet

From Herder and the Philosophy and History of Science (1970), pp. 335-36, doi:10.59860/td.c7c473f

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Part of the book: Herder and the Philosophy and History of Science

H. B. Nisbet

MHRA Texts and Dissertations 3

Modern Humanities Research Association


Abstract.  In Herder’s philosophy of nature and science, the general methods he uses to describe and classify natural phenomena are his greatest contribution to the scientific tradition, and, from the point of view of today, his particular scientific theories are of secondary importance. Nevertheless, these theories are backed up by a very extensive reading, and they provide us with a remarkably full picture of the state of science in the eighteenth century and the age of Goethe, who was more profoundly influenced by Herder’s ideas than has hitherto been suspected. As for influences at work upon Herder, it has emerged in the course of this study that the earlier ideas of Kant, his old teacher, were by far the greatest single influence upon his own scientific thought, even in matters of detail. On a more abstract level, the influence of Leibniz is only slightly less obvious.

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