Henri Bortoft

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Peter Henri Bortoft (1938 – 29 December 2012) [1] was a British independent researcher and teacher, lecturer and writer on physics and the philosophy of science. He is best known for his work The Wholeness of Nature, considered a relevant and original recent interpretation of Goethean science. [2] [3] His book Taking Appearance Seriously: The Dynamic Way of Seeing in Goethe and European Thought was published in 2012.


Bortoft completed his studies at the University of Hull, [4] and then performed postgraduate research on the foundations of quantum physics at Birkbeck College, where theoretical physicist David Bohm introduced him to the problem of wholeness in quantum theory. Subsequently, Bortoft worked with John G. Bennett on Bennett's Systematics (also known as Multi-Term Systems), which was Bennett's methodology for assisting the systematic and progressive understanding of systems, complexity, and wholeness, and on efforts with Bennett and with Kenneth W. Pledge to develop a formal language that was rigorously descriptive of scientific activity. Those efforts were published in Systematics: The Journal of the Institute for the Comparative Study of History, Philosophy and the Sciences, listed below.

Bortoft taught physics and philosophy of science at Schumacher College in the framework of the program in Holistic Science. He held numerous lectures and seminars in Great Britain and the United States on the scientific work of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and on the development of modern science.

Bortoft died on 29 December 2012 at his home in Matlaske, Norfolk. [5]


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  1. Harding, Stephan; Franses, Philip; Shaw, Patricia (January 2013). "A Tribute to Henri Bortoft". Schumacher College . Retrieved 2013-01-08.
  2. Book review on Wholeness of Nature Archived 2012-04-15 at the Wayback Machine by David Seamon, originally appeared in Parabola, 22, 3 (Fall 1997): 90-91
  3. Book review on The Wholeness of Nature by John Barnes
  4. Henri Bortoft Archived 2012-04-25 at the Wayback Machine (in German)
  5. Add to Timeline (2013-01-05). "PETER HENRI BORTOFT : Death - FamilyNotices24 - Eastern Daily Press". FamilyNotices24. Retrieved 2013-01-09.