Developing a Science of the Subjective

Developing a Science of the Subjective

Chantal Toporow

Science, at present, is overwhelmingly driven by objective methodologies, causing a sort of myopia when looking at “inexplicable/anomalous/paranormal” events. Goethe’s work elucidates more subjective scientific methods, which, though pushed aside by the then-dominant Newtonian objective science, are equally enduring and valid as we move forward in balancing our subjective and objective views of the world around us (Amrine, F., & Zucker, F. J.,1987; von Goethe, J. W., 1988). Only through this amalgamation of apparently anomalous events, (random yet synchronous) with those which are the standard “predictable and repeatable”, can we begin to fully develop our understanding of the inherent nature of the interconnectivity of knowledge. This objective/subjective duality must be balanced out in order to reap the vastness of exceptional human experiences, many of which are totally unrepeatable and exceedingly extraordinary.

It is critical for the scientific community to realize that “…scientists, despite their conclusions, are still very far from creating a full-fledged theory of dimensions because, in the study and description of the higher dimensions, they use the tools of the world of the four dimensions (x,y,z,t) and the five-sense perceptions. It is like chasing the horizon, the faster we get closer to it, the faster it moves away from us. In order to break through to higher dimensions, you need, at least, to go beyond the limits of your own perception. To overcome these obstacles, methods are needed that would seem to scientists to be completely “unscientific…” (Tkhinvaleli, D., In Press).

Our SSE founders Robert Jahn and Brenda Dunne wrote extensively on this issue (Jahn, R.G., Dunne, B.J., 1997, 2011).. Dr. Jahn’s marching orders to the PEAR (Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research) Academy of Consciousness, the SSE, and to the world, was to develop and establish the science of the subjective. They wrote: “The challenges of quantitative measurement and theoretical conceptualization within such a ‘‘Science of the Subjective’’ are formidable, but its potential intellectual and cultural benefits could be immense, not least of all in improving the reach, the utility, the attitude, and the image of science itself.” (Jahn, R.G., Dunne, B.J., 1997)


Amrine, F., & Zucker, F. J. (1987). Introduction. In F. Amrine, F. J. Jucker, & H. Wheeler (Eds.), Goethe and the sciences: a reappraisal (pp. xi–xvi). Dordrecht: Reidel.

Jahn, R.G., Dunne, B.J. (1997). Science of the Subjective Journal of Scientific Exploration, 11:201–224, 1997.

Jahn, R.G., Dunne, B.J. (2005). The PEAR Proposition, Journal of Scientific Exploration, Vol. 19, No.2, pp.195-245.

Jahn, R. G., Dunne, B. J. (2011, June 9). Towards a Science of the Subjective,

Tkhinvaleli, D. (In Press). The Laws of Nature.

von Goethe, J. W. (1988) The experiment as mediator between object and subject. In D. Miller (Ed. & Trans.), Goethe: scientific studies (pp. 11–17). New York: Suhrkamp Publishers. (Original work published 1823).

Chantal Toporow, Ph.D., SSE Education Chair, has extensive experience in scientific research, development, & management of advanced aerospace technologies. She taught Engineering at UCLA, CSULB, CSUN, and environmental courses at LMU, SMC, and Otis Parsons School of Art and Design.  Retired, she is now teaching at the Rhine Education Center and is on the boards of various nonprofits dedicated to the advancement of science, the development of cultural aesthetics, and the preservation of nature. Dr. Toporow is committed to promoting scientific inquiry for rigorous exploration of anomalous phenomena including consciousness and human potential with the goal of integrating this knowledge into a more encompassing and holistic model of science.

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Published on February 12, 2024