The Faustian drive,

So that I may perceive whatever holds
The world together in its inmost folds,
See all its seeds, its working power,
And cease work-threshing from this hour,

has become the leading motif of modern scientific knowledge. Without ideological or religious premises one wants to understand the world as it is. Presupposed is that humanity is free and not subjected to any external strictures. At the same time Johann Wolfgang Goethe (17491832) wrote his poem Faust, the philosopher Immanuel Kant (17241804) demanded: “Have courage to use your own intelligence!”

The real is only that which can be scientifically investigated. The results of scientific research can be proven; that is to say, under identical conditions one obtains the same results. The sciences, as conducted today, are descriptive and emphasize the facts. One does not ask about the essence of things, but attempts to depict processes or final states with the help of a formalized language. The world which is investigated is reduced to models so that instead of “substance” one talks about “func-

1. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Faust, part 1, ll. 30–33, trans. George Madison
Priest, Great Books of the Western World (Chicago: Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1952),

2. Immanuel Kant, “What Is Enlightenment?” in The Philosophy of Kant: Immanuel
Kant's Moral and Political Writings, edited with an introduction by Carl J. Friedrich (New
York: Random House, Modern Library, 1949), 132.

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