Concept

Romanticism in science

Summary
19th-century science was greatly influenced by Romanticism (or the Age of Reflection, 1800–40), an intellectual movement that originated in Western Europe as a counter-movement to the late-18th-century Enlightenment. Romanticism incorporated many fields of study, including politics, the arts, and the humanities. In contrast to the Enlightenment's mechanistic natural philosophy, European scientists of the Romantic period held that observing nature implied understanding the self and that knowledge of nature "should not be obtained by force". They felt that the Enlightenment had encouraged the abuse of the sciences, and they sought to advance a new way to increase scientific knowledge, one that they felt would be more beneficial not only to mankind but to nature as well. Romanticism advanced a number of themes: it promoted anti-reductionism (that the whole is more valuable than the parts alone) and epistemological optimism (man was connected to nature), and encouraged creativity, ex
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