NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ937133
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 13
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 26
ISSN: ISSN-0814-0626
Goethe's "Delicate Empiricism": Assessing Its Value for Australian Ecologists
Bradley, Melanie
Australian Journal of Environmental Education, v27 n1 p81-93 2011
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, recognised as a seminal German polymath, developed a unique approach for investigating nature, termed "delicate empiricism". Goethe's approach uses empathy, imagination and intuition to promote a participatory engagement with the world. It goes beyond the dualistic-rationalism that defines "conventional" ecological research and can lead to novel insights. "Delicate empiricism" was applied in an ecologically-degraded agricultural landscape in the Brigalow Belt, Queensland, Australia, and its potential for increasing landscape understanding and providing a basis for land-use design was assessed. It was found that Goethe's approach led to holistic, qualitative landscape awareness, not ordinarily accessible via "conventional science". Application of "delicate empiricism" also gave rise to a land-use design that reflected the Australian-ness of the Brigalow Belt landscape, particularly the potential for recovery of native biodiversity values through retention of regrowth vegetation. Overall, the study suggested that there is merit in educating Australian ecologists about "delicate empiricism" to encourage more creative and sensitive landscape management, that is in sync with the environment. (Contains 4 figures.)
Australian Association for Environmental Education, Inc. P.O. Box 560, Bellingen, NSW 2454, Australia. Tel: +61-2-6655-1865; Fax: +61-2-6655-1596; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia