It is beyond dispute that the main objective of the polemical part of Goethe’s Farbenlehre, namely, the refutation of Newton’s Opticks, was a misguided one. Many consider it to be inexplicable that a man of Goethe’s intellectual standing should have behaved in such an apparently irrational manner. It so happens, however, that the characteristics of the subjective spectrum are more akin to Goethe’s model than to Newton’s. It is true that Goethe put an incorrect interpretation upon what he saw—and was the first to see—but a careful scrutiny of his scientific method reveals that his reasoning was far from irrational.

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