"The realization that the phenomena we confront are always richer than the abstractions we use to explain them is central to a Goethean approach. This realization is the expression of a two-fold awareness or sensitivity that Goethe points to with his expression 'delicate empiricism' (Goethe, 1829, in Miller, 1995, p. 307). First, we experience a phenomenon (a mouse, a wooded swamp, a range of blue hills in the distance, or the clouds moving across the sky) as a kind of fullness that calls forth wonder, curiosity, questioning. We want to get to know it better, or as Goethe states it radically, 'become utterly identical with it' (ibid.). This is empiricism, because we orient all our striving around the phenomena themselves. A phenomenon is what meets the eye but we also experience it is as something more, as a kind of surface that is pregnant with a depth we may be able to plumb. But we realize that we will not fathom these depths with models and theories, which more likely than not will lead us away from the phenomenon itself."
(Craig Holdrege, 2005)
Craig Holdrege Summer 2005, 8.1. 'Doing Goethean Science' Janus Head.
"There is a line among the fragments of the Greek poet Archilochus which says: ‘The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing.’ Scholars have differed about the correct interpretation of these dark words, which may mean no more than that the fox, for all his cunning, is defeated by the hedgehog’s one defence. But, taken figuratively, the words can be made to yield a sense in which they mark one of the deepest differences which divide writers and thinkers, and, it may be, human beings in general. For there exists a great chasm between those, on one side, who relate everything to a single central vision, one system, less or more coherent or articulate, in terms of which they understand, think and feel - a single, universal, organising principle in terms of which alone all that they are and say has significance - and, on the other side, those who pursue many ends, often unrelated and even contradictory, connected, if at all, only in some de facto way, for some psychological or physiological cause, related to no moral or aesthetic principle. These last lead lives, perform acts and entertain ideas that are centrifugal rather than centripetal; their thought is scattered or diffused, moving on many levels, seizing upon the essence of a vast variety of experiences and objects for what they are in themselves, without, consciously or unconsciously, seeking to fit them into, or exclude them from, any one unchanging, all embracing, sometimes self-contradictory and incomplete, at times fanatical, unitary inner vision. The first kind of intellectual and artistic personality belongs to the hedgehogs, the second to the foxes; and without insisting on a rigid classification, we may, without too much fear of contradiction, say that, in this sense, Dante belongs to the first category, Shakespeare to the second; Plato, Lucretius, Pascal, Hegel, Dostoevsky, Nietzsche, Ibsen, Proust are, in varying degrees, hedgehogs; Herodotus, Aristotle, Montaigne, Erasmus, Molière, Goethe, Pushkin, Balzac, Joyce are foxes."
Isaiah Berlin, 1953. The Hedgehog and the Fox: An Essay on Tolstoy’s View of History UK: Phoenix, 978–0–75380–867–2