Dissertations >> Perceiving The Whole - Tom Butterworth

Perceiving The Whole - Tom Butterworth


This thesis is an attempt to move toward the acceptance of the use of the whole person in science and to understand what this means, both to science and the scientist. The body of this thesis is an experiment examining the relationship between the perception created by our intuitive feelings and the perception generated through the science of ecology. Three woodlands on the Dartington Estate were investigated using ecological census techniques, Free Choice Profiling (FCP) and Goethean methodology. The latter is an attempt to use the whole person in science, while FCP is a method that allows participants descriptive terms to be quantified. The intuitive feelings that emerged within the human participants while in the woodlands were recorded and analysed using the FCP method. The FCP was performed at the beginning and the end of two separate Goethean Studies to examine the effect the Goethean method has on perception. The ecological data was analysed using principal component analysis (PCA) and compared to the results of the FCP studies.

The results show little change in the perception due to the Goethean study. However, the perception of the woods created through the ecological methods and that of the intuitive mood were very similar. This is shown through the relative placement of the woods on the PCA and the FCP plots. Further, the characteristics that separated the woods were also very similar for both forms of perception even though these separating characters area a product of the data analysis, and are not chosen.

The discussion of these results is followed by a personal exploration into the effect a science with the whole person will have on science and on the scientist. Using Jung’s mandala of the psyche I explore the process of individuation in relation to performing a science that combines Goethean and conventional scientific techniques.

After Schumacher College

Since leaving the College Tom is now Senior Advisor for Green Infrastructure (Natural England) and Local Nature Partnership Senior Policy Advisor (Defra).