Extended science has been discussed by scientists and philosophers of science since the 18th Century, though in many guises, with an early proponent being Goethe. Although primarily known as a literary figure, Goethe did research i
n morphology, anatomy, and optics, and a phenomenological approach to science and to knowledge in general.
Other thinkers have tried to move the extended approach to science, notably:
- Arthur Schopenhauer expanded on Goethe’s research in optics using a different methodology in his On Vision and Colours, 1816.
- Rudolf Steiner wanted to create a “spiritual science” since spiritual knowledge can be fruitful in various fields of life such education, medicine, pharmacy, agriculture, social work, economics and much else. He stated in Erkenntnistheorie der Goetheschen Weltanschauung in 1886:
“The basic mistake of many scientific endeavours in the present is that they believe they are presenting pure experience, while in reality they are reading out the concepts that they put into their experience in the first place.”
- Ludwig Wittgenstein, in his 1921 work Tractatus, observed:
The whole modern conception of the world is founded on the illusion that the so-called laws of nature are the explanations of natural phenomena. Thus people today stop at the laws of nature, treating them as something inviolable, just as God and Fate were treated in past ages.
- Max Planck who in a 1931 interview with The Observer stated:
- Some things seem to be non-living, but this because we have a very limited concept of “life”.
I regard consciousness as fundamental, matter is derivative from consciousness We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness. There is no matter as such; it exists only by virtue of a force bringing the particle to vibration and holding it together in a minute solar system; we must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent mind. The mind is the matrix of all matter.
- Erwin Schrödinger in What is Life, 1944, noted that life was comprised of two fundamental process: the first “order from order” and the second “order from disorder”. Whilst the former combined with the work of Crick and Watson provided biology with a framework for some of its most important findings, the second, although equally important has been ignored.
- David Bohm, in his 1980 book Wholeness and the Implicate Order, tries to bring “together questions of the nature of the cosmos, of matter in general, of life, and of consciousness” in a holistic manner.
- Richard Tarnas, in his 1990 book The Passion of the Western Mind, writes:
“The human mind is ultimately the organ of the world’s own process of self-revelation………(and)…Nature becomes intelligible to itself through the human mind.”
The list can be extended almost indefinitely, but despite the number of minds accepting that a new approach to science is needed, there is little in the way of funded research and a methodology is much needed, which is the first part of the remit of the Commission for Extended Science.