This dissertation explores the possible benefits of Goethe's holistic approach to nature in science education and in science educator programs, especially in regard to how Goethe's approach may influence worldview. It seeks to demonstrate how Goethe's holistic approach can help balance one-sided reductionism in science by emphasizing context and relationality. The dissertation begins by comparing and contrasting Goethe's science with conventional science and raises the question of what constitutes appropriate and inappropriate indoctrination in education. The ethical implications of a scientific worldview that favors reductionism are explored in regard to the health of the biosphere. The Neo-Darwinian theory of natural selection is highlighted as a manifestation of the mechanistic worldview and is contrasted with Goethe's approach to the topic of evolution as a creative process. Goethean phenomenological inquiry, which emphasizes first-hand sensory encounter, has applications for the science classroom and science teacher education programs. Goethe's practice of exact sensorial imagination overcomes a dualistic worldview and creates possibilities for experiencing the spiritual realm as an objective reality. The dissertation thus positions Goethe's science as a bridge and even a keystone between the scientific worldview and a religious worldview. It suggests ways in which Goethe's science can support an ethical relationship with nature and a healthy regard for the reality of spirit.
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Thesis advisor: Bai, Heesoon
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