page contents



                  • I will check out your new edition. Looking forward to the new video as well!
                    • In case you don't know, what has been completed of the new translation is only available on this website.

                      2017 The Philosophy Of Freedom
                      Rudolf Steiner's Philosophy Of Freedom
                  • The major hinge seems to be its acceptance or rejection as a player worthy of contention and resources, primarily among university departments and their scholars. Do you agree?

                    The common sense (or is it naive) place to start is to accept the premise that philosophy and science are an absolute level playing field where Darwinism rules. Having entered the playing field a century ago, The POF must have failed the test at some point. It is the system of a charlatan or a dilettante. It takes up its proper place in the discard pile. But this event would be accompanied with a corpse. I have not found this corpse and how it came to lie there. So has it occurred at all?

                    Has it simply not made any acquaintance with academia? As you said, it being somehow too radical. Who is the person with the greatest social currency which has evaluated the POF? Is it still Eduard Von Hartmann flippant edit?

                    Is there another system, developed since its publication which exactly embodies it, which has been more closely analyzed and critiqued. If so, what is it. If it exists, this would be a helpful starting point. If not, what is the closest system? Is it Hegel and his camp? Phenomenology? Existentialism? I can't judge adequately without further research into the history of philosophy.

                    It seems like he needs to be reckoned with in his own right. And that this has yet to happen. Could the POF be the basis for a new school of thinking? Will it have a cascading, unifying effect as new break throughs link the disparate irreconcilable schools of thought. Or is it more belligerent and monumental?

                    I'd like to find the answer to all of these questions.
                    • I think a setback to TPOF becoming known, is that anthroposophists have NOT presented the book as a philosophy of life, but rather as the foundation for Steiner's clairvoyant perception of spiritual worlds. I would expect that the topic of  clairvoyant perception of spiritual worlds would result in the immediate dismissal of TPOF in our age of science. (see addition below)

                      I have also found that the writings of anthroposophists show little knowledge of TPOF as it seems they have barely read it. Their thoughts are full of theosophy and Steiner's later books which they try to unsuccessfully insert in TPOF. The best example is Sergei O. Prokofieff's abomination called  "Anthroposophy and the Philosophy of Freedom: Anthroposophy and Its Method of Cognition."

                      The spirit of The Philosophy Of Freedom is far different then the spirit of anthroposophy. Anthroposophy is a top down authoritarian movement while TPOF is a bottom up individualistic movement. An example is how a few self chosen authoritarians got lawyers and gained control of the "Waldorf" name and now do not let anybody use it without their traditionalist certification. This would never happen in the spirit of TPOF. "Montessori" never did this. The restriction of the use of the Waldorf name has prevented innovation and 1000's of home daycares from springing up. 

                      In the early days of the Anthroposophical Society there were two sides that battled, the free spirits and the Goetheanum traditionalists. Steiner recommended they split into two sister movements with one side starting free communities and the other side centering on the work going on at the Goetheanum. They remained as one group and the free spirits were eventually purged from the Society as it remains today. To find people who are in touch with the spirit of TPOF you have to look outside the Anthroposophical Society. But they have never heard of it until recently, so they are not up to speed on what is in the book.

                      1918 Addition to the last POF chapter Consequences Of Monism
                      With such a world of spiritual perception a number of the writings are concerned which I have published since this present book appeared. The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity lays the philosophical foundation for these later writings. For it attempts to show that in the very experience of thinking, rightly understood, we experience Spirit. This is the reason why it appears to the author that no one will stop short of entering the world of spiritual perception who has been able to adopt, in all seriousness, the point of view of the Philosophy of Spiritual Activity. True, logical deduction —by syllogisms—will not extract out of the contents of this book the contents of the author's later books. But a living understanding of what is meant in this book by "intuitive thinking" will naturally prepare the way for living entry into the world of spiritual perception.


                      Anthroposophy and the Philosophy of Freedom
                      Some people's path to Anthroposophy leads them directly to Rudolf Steiner's early work Intuitive Thinking as a Spiritual Path: A Philosophy of Freedo…
  • "The products of thinking are concepts and ideas. What a concept is cannot be expressed in words. Words can do no more than draw our attention to the fact that we have concepts."

    Do you know of anywhere Steiner expands on the nature of concepts? Thanks!

    (More context for my question below.)

    "We have no right to say that over and above our immediate percepts there is anything except the ideal nexus of percepts (which thought has to reveal)."

    Taken from another lecture..

    "Indeed, even the nutritional process cannot be purely physical, but as material processes they are really the external aspects and expressions of spiritual processes."

    Steiner speaks here as he often seems to of a close association between the external and the spiritual processes which underlies it. Is this the same thing as the ideal nexus which thought provides? Is it the concepts and ideas themselves which designate the behavior of the external percepts? Do concepts themselves hold the causal powers in Steiners view, as opposed to "physical forces" governing matter?
    • We experience a thing as a percept (observation) and as a concept (laws).

      “Every event in the universe has two sides which must be distinguished: its external sequence in time and space, and its internal conformity to law.” Truth And Science

      A concept is something grasped by thinking. The term “concept” is used in The Philosophy Of Freedom in the way it is used in other fields. There are pure universal concepts and there are concepts connected with perceptual content called mental pictures.

      The concept is a law that defines how percepts are connected.

      The concept “triangle” contains the law of triangle. Within this law are all possible triangles. This law is a universal concept, “the concept of a triangle which my mind grasps is the same as the concept which my neighbor's mind grasps.” A universal concept cannot be put into words and is not sense perceptible as we cannot perceive a triangle that expresses all possible triangles. It is the same with the universal concept “house’ or “tree”. When I try to explain a concept my words keep expanding as concepts connect  with all other concepts.

      I am not aware of a concept itself having a power in the physical world. A living concept refers to a concept that we intuit that is connected with our feeling and willing. I have no idea what “spiritual” means in anthroposophy. I find it to be a vague and nebulous catch all term that leads to a lot of confusion. The Philosophy Of Freedom remains within the observable world of science and doesn’t cross over into speculations that can only be known by having superhuman clairvoyant abilities to see into so-called spiritual worlds.

      • So I am not a fan of particles. I am not a fan of the idea that fundamentally the universe consists of particles first, and epi-phenomena only secondarily. I am not a fan of the theory that particle interactions according to mysterious forces at sub-visual levels is the causal process in our experiences. In particle physics, physical forces dictate change. These models seem to be inadequate upon close scrutiny. Something Steiner addresses several times in the POF and in his essay, "A Refutation of Atomism"

        The alternative I have found most useful is something like Simulation Theory. If instead of bits of matter, we use bits of information as the underlining sub-visual process, it's easier to see how we come to know about said 'imperceptible to our senses' processes.

        Now the image I have is of "beings" or minds serving as stages, platforms or realms of unfolding bits of information according to concepts. These platforms are what we find as the given world of percepts. Our own mind, in the pattern of those previous minds, then sets to work interacting among concepts and those concepts which are being staged by other minds (percepts).

        This is the sense I mean in which concepts themselves are the casual entities. Laws of nature are ideas of nature. Through the interaction of concepts change occurs. They are akin to the mysterious forces physics has been employing without understanding their nature. They work not on bits of matter, but as the informant of our percepts, which we very falsely associate with particles. Hence they sort of simulate concepts for us.

        In this vein I see Steiner as a fore-runner and inspirer of a new model or paradigm. For physics, a post particle paradigm.

        Is there anything salvageable to you in this reply? If I am way off in left field, a stern warning about speculation won't be taken badly, thank you for the opportunity to get feedback.
        • Steiner's works are immense. You must be aware of the Rudolf Steiner Archive.  The librarian there may be able to direct you to people or lectures that help with your questions. My knowledge is very limited in general and very limited in anthroposophy to a basic reading of The Philosophy Of Freedom. I am trying to present the book in a simple way so it can be applied to practical life.   

          Rudolf Steiner Archive & e.Lib - About Rudolf Steiner
          An electronic Library - e.Lib - and Archive site for the over 6000 collected works of the Austrian born philosopher and founder of Anthroposophy, Rud…
        • Also being talked about as a "Patternist" approach. What is the universe made out of? Matter, energy, information, patterns? These latter two are now being considered on the same ontological level as the former.
  • Hi Tom,

    I'd like ask you why you recommend the original edition ?
This reply was deleted.
© Tom Last 2017