By Michael Heidelberger
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Extra info for Nature From Within: Gustav Theodor Fechner And His Psychophysical Worldview
That doctrine too k the universe for a clockw ork, ticking away mechanically. Life and consciousness are o f minimal significance. In contrast, philosophy o f nature exchanged “soulless mechanism” for an “ animated organ ism,” trying to understand and explain the phenom ena and the progress o f life and consciousness within the context o f the organic world. A n early, radical version o f this kind o f philosophy o f nature was most co n sistently staked out and elaborated by Lorenz Oken (1779-1851).
T he w hole has a real, material side (ether) and an ideal, immaterial side (God). T he ideal side takes the form o f pure oneness, the material side is diverse. 17 Reality is created when G od juxtaposes himself: By postulating itself, the real, or diversity, or the world, comes into being. The creation o f the world is nothing other than an act o f self-consciousness, God him self appearing. What we find as thoughts in our consciousness are the individual appearances o f the world in God’s consciousness.
74 Fechner’s second objection follows from that. Herbart’s notion o f being, or substance, is a general metaphysical concept lacking validity for science, unless it applies to everything. ” 75 Fechner derives his third strategy for criticizing Herbart from his training in physics. He confronts Herbart’s use o f concepts with com parable concepts in physics, w hile sim ultaneously reflecting on how to realize Herbart’s hypotheses in terms o f physics. T he mental events that Herbart contrived must also always be physically realized.