|A general diagram of the Gibbs, Goethe, and Empedocles connection, via Richard Schowen's 1984 red thread model; according to which, after the year 1882, wherein Hermann Helmholtz showed that free energy is he measure of affinities, people began to make the discerning red thread connection: Gibbs to Goethe to Empedocles.|
The discovery of Carl Snyder (1902), of note, was found via the Google Books search key combination: Goethe, Gibbs, Empedocles; a key that returns similar thinkers including: Lawrence Henderson (The Order of Nature, 1917) (Ѻ), and Libb Thims (Human Chemistry, 2007) (Ѻ).
Quotes | Reduction
The following are extreme reductionism themed quotes:
“Physical science will not stop short of a reduction of the universe and all it contains to the basis of mechanics; in more concrete terms, to the working of a machine.”— Carl Snyder (1903), New Conceptions in Science (Ѻ)
“There is nothing but the difficulty of the task to hinder the reduction of all [socio-] physiological processes to physical and chemical phenomena.”— Lawrence Henderson (1927), “The Process of Scientific Discovery” ; note: the "socio-" insert, making the statement indicative of "extreme" reductionism, is a retrospect addition, per his later Gibbs-based ventures into sociology (see: "Sociology 23" + Harvard Pareto circle)
These two, to note, are both, independently, Gibbs, Goethe, and Empedocles scholars; namely each viewed the universe and all in it as being reducible to forces and elements, as did Empedocles, via his two force, four element model.
Their exist a few Gibbs, Goethe, and Empedocles key word connecting publications, that are goose chases, one being: a Stephen Toulmin (1985) connection, in respect to Gibbs, seems to cite the 1970s evolution publications of Francois Jacob, who supposedly, in turn, cited the statistical mechanics of Gibbs. Moreover, the Empedocles name drop is but mention of an example of pre-Socratic. The Goethe mention here, also, seems to be general Goethe discussion, no mention of Elective Affinities. 
Another is one by Arthur Zajonc (Catching the Light, 1995) (Ѻ), who cited Gibbs for his quote on William Thomson's vortex atom theory; no oil and water Empedocles discussion is employed; and no Elective Affinities discussion is found.
1. Mimkes, Jürgen. (2000). “Society as a many-particle System” (abs), Journal Thermal Analysis, 60(3):1055-69.
2. Toulmin, Stephen. (1985). The Return to Cosmology: Postmodern Science and the Theology of Nature (Empedocles, pg. 9; Gibbs, pg. 160; Goethe, pgs. 109,130, 131, 137, and 187) (Ѻ). University of California Press.