A Progressive Philosophy Of Freedom

ABOUT  Welcome to the new website design. This website, since 2005, examines Rudolf Steiner's early work (pre 1900 before he turned to theosophy) when he presented a way of life called Ethical Individualism based on a Science Of Freedom. “this book occupies a position completely independent of my writings on actual spiritual scientific matters... What I have said in this book may be acceptable even to some who, for reasons of their own, refuse to have anything to do with the results of my researches into the spiritual realm.” Rudolf Steiner, "The Philosophy of Freedom", 1918 Preface to the Revised Edition 

STUDY COURSE  The study course is self-directed study of a variety of relevant content collected over the years. Begin at any time. See the Study Course sidebar links.

STUDY GROUP  You are invited to participate in a unique online study group. A panel of animated characters will go through the book chapter by chapter and present the views given in each chapter. If you would like to be notified when a newly produced Philosophy Of Freedom video is posted register to this website.

CONTACT  You are welcome to get involved with a comment or blog post. Or email me your ideas or role you would like to play; featured writer, art, research, news, content suggestions, etc. -Tom

The Philosophy Of Freedom lays the foundation for a progressive social and political life.

A progressive stands for progress that improves the human condition rather than maintaining things as they are. Being a progressive does not refer to any external institution, it is a state of mind. It is an attitude through which a person, aware of himself or herself as one among a valued global community of individuals, comes nearest to living up to the ideal of human worth and dignity.

Essential to human dignity is freedom; freedom of thought, morality and action. The ethical individualist is a self-determining free individuality who acts out of knowledge.

How The Study Group Works

“With the opinions that one risks, it is like pieces that one pushes forward on the board; they can be taken, but they have initiated a game that will be won.” Goethe

STUDY GROUP Study the Philosophy Of Freedom with a panel of animated characters along with any humans who participate. The study group consists of a moderator and an animated panel of 12 who will go through the book chapter by chapter and present the views given in each chapter. All others are invited to participate by posting questions and comments at the bottom of the page.

CURRENT DISCUSSION VIDEO This weeks featured discussion video is "The 12 World-Outlooks". Next up is chapter 1 "Conscious Human Action".

Featured Study Group Discussion Video

The video is under construction so more of the script will be added as it is completed. Check back to see the new additions. Below is the first posted draft of a script for this new video that points out the difference between Part 1 and Part 2 of the Philosophy Of Freedom. 

The philosophy of freedom is divided into two parts.
Part 1 is entitled “Knowledge Of Freedom”.
Part 2 is “Reality Of Freedom”.

In Part 1 we learn how to gain knowledge of an action.
By gaining knowledge of why we act, we can determine whether the action is free or not free.
In part 2 we learn how to originate free action.
In both cases the approach we take will be to examine our thinking processes.

In order to characterize an action, we need to discover the reason or motive of the action.
This is the rule or law that directs the action.
Are we controlled by inner laws of human nature or outer rules set down by someone else to act in a certain way, or are we guided by a motive that we freely originate?

Our action is part of the world, so gaining knowledge of the laws that determines our action is done in the same way we gain knowledge of anything else in the world.
We seek the laws of our action just as science seeks to discover the fundamental laws of the universe.

The laws that science discovers depends on what is being observed, and are universally valid.
The question of Part 1 becomes, “How can we gain universally valid ideas that express the inner core of the world”?

In Part 2 we learn how to originate free action.
The laws of a free deed originates within our own world of ideas, where only we can determine them.
We determine the laws that guide our action.
A free deed is based on individually valid ideas rather than the universally valid ideas of science.

When an idea is to be put into action it becomes an ideal of ethical action.

The question of Part 2 becomes, “How can we gain individually valid ideals that express the inner core of our being”? Display Part 1 question “How can we gain universally valid ideas that express the inner core of the world”?

The ethical ideal is imaginatively translated into a specific action.
We are inspired to act as the realization of our ideals is our highest pleasure.

In Part 1 we learn how to know reality with reality-based knowledge.
In Part 2 we learn how to create reality with ethically-based action.
True freedom is achieved when they are united, when we imaginatively create a new world out of knowledge.

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Study Group Chapter Themes And Discussion Videos

These are the key ideas to be presented in the study group. Part 1 of The Philosophy Of Freedom (book text) is about knowing reality with reality-based knowledge while Part 2 is about creating reality with ethically-based action. Go to the Study Group link on the side bar to learn about the study group.


Part 1

Part 2



(universally valid cognitive ideas of science)


(individually valid ethical ideas of action)
0. Preface
1. Conscious Human Action
      A.Ethical Individualism Anchored In A Science Of Freedom (3 videos)
      B. Striving For Freedom (video coming soon)
14. Individuality And Genus
2. The Desire For Knowledge
13. The Value Of Life
3. Thinking As The Instrument Of Knowledge
12. Moral Imagination
4. The World As Perception
11. World Purpose And Life Purpose
5. Knowing The World
10. Freedom Philosophy And Monism 
6. Human Individuality
 9. The Idea Of Freedom
7. Are There Limits To Knowing?
 8. The Factors Of Life

The 12 World-Outlooks

12 WORLD-OUTLOOKS The structure of a Philosophy Of Freedom chapter is that it begins with an introduction to the chapter theme which is followed by 12 views of the theme. The reading is much easier if you know what world-outlook is being expressed. The views are numbered in the online text, and follow in order, 1. Materialism 2. Spiritism 3. Realism 4. Idealism 5. Mathematism 6. Rationalism 7. Psychism 8. Pneumatism 9. Monadism 10. Dynamism 11. Phenomenalism and 12. Sensationalism. These views are described in Rudolf Steiner's Human And Cosmic Thought.

The next study course video will be on the difference between Part 1 and Part 2 of the Philosophy Of Freedom followed by a video on chapter 1, Conscious Human Action.

Welcome to the Philosophy Of Freedom study group where we will learn about ethical individualism.
We have brought together a diverse discussion panel to introduce you to a progressive philosophy of life.
The panel will go through the entire book chapter by chapter and discuss the main topics.
You are welcome to participate by posting your questions and comments in the comment box.
I am the group moderator and will attempt to deepen the conversation.

Now lets meet our panel.

I am a materialist.
As a scientist I try to explain everything by sticking to what I know, the material world and its laws.

I am a Spiritist.
The material world is only a manifestation of the world of mind.
By developing our powers, the Truth that we seek comes to us through our own inner activity.

As a Realist and repair man I recognize the external world.
The external world that surrounds me is something I can see and think about.

I am a professor with the world-view of Idealism.
The world has no meaning unless there is within it a progressive tendency. I am interested in the world of ideas and ideals that give the world meaning and purpose.

These are the four basic world-views.
The other views are variations between these four.
Materialists direct their attention on the outer material-physical world.
Spiritists direct their attention on the world of spirit or Mind.
Realists on the external world that surrounds them.
And Idealists on the world of ideas.

I am a programming engineer with a world view of Mathematism.
Mathematical thinking taught me that if I focus and control my thinking I can arrive at the correct answer by following a logical sequence of thought.
I discovered that there are mathematical laws that apply as soundly in the phenomenal world as they do within the world of thought.

This is significant since these laws exist within their own right, independent of us, and apply to both worlds; they unify the mind and the world.

Rationalism is essential for a lawyer like myself; the world view of Rationalism.
If mathematical ideas are real in the world, why should not other ideas correctly apply to the world?
I accept ideas that are discovered in the world, outside myself.
Rational ideas are backed up by evidence found in the world.

I am a psychologist with the world-view of Psychism.
My interest is in people.
We must remember that ideas are bound up with some one who is capable of having ideas.
Ideas are connected with people.

I am a Pnuematist and psychic.
I seek forces beyond the material world.
Pneuma is a word for "spirit".
I believe there is an active spirit in the outside world.

I am a philosopher with the world-view of Monadism.
I am a self-conscious and completely self-dependent ego.
Truth is not revealed to outer observation so I do not accept anything as truth from the outside world.
I have conceptual powers to grasp the directing principle of things within myself.
All my experience, sensation, and knowledge is the result of my own inner activity.

My world-view is Dynamism.
I am an artist who believes that change and progress are brought about by dynamic forces.
I look for the forces and energies that are behind external phenomena.
Forces are dominate everywhere.

My outlook is Phenomenalism.
As a researcher I describe the appearance or observed features of what I experience.
Other than my observations, I have no right to say more about it.
I am not saying that what appears to me is the true world.
It is a world of phenomena.

I am a gourmet who loves to cook and my world-view is Sensationalism.
We have a world all around us.
But what we really have is what we have added to it, what we have thought into the world.
I peel off from my experience everything that comes from the understanding and reason, and accept only my sense impressions without interpretation.

Thank you panel.
Lets begin our discussion of The Philosophy Of Freedom with chapter 1, Conscious Human Action.

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  • To explain the difference between Part 1 and Part 2 of the Philosophy Of Freedom I posted a new chart with the key ideas to be presented in the study group.

  • A unique online study group has begun. Hope you can join.

  • I added two new pages; an effective way to study the Philosophy Of Freedom called Project Based Study and a fun study group process at Start A Study Group. These links will be on the side bar.

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