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Medicine And Books

Reenchanted Science: Holism in Germany Culture from Wilhelm II to Hitler

BMJ 1996; 313 doi: (Published 07 December 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;313:1494
  1. Michael Burleigh

    Anne Harrington Princeton University Press, £29.95, pp 309 ISBN 0 691 02142 2

    Lecturing in Munich in the aftermath of the first world war, Max Weber remarked on the “disenchanting” effect of modern science—undermining “all transcendent principles, systematically stripping the world of all spiritual mystery, emotional colour, and ethical significance and turning it into a mere ‘causal mechanism.’” While Weber accepted this development with grim faced stoicism, and Fritz Lang made a movie in which machines run rampant, the four German scientists discussed in this book sought to counter the machine-like view of existence with variants of life and mind sciences known as holism, or “Ganzheitslehre” in German.

    The main interest of …

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