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A Progressive Philosophy Of Freedom

FREEDOM  Rudolf Steiner tackles the age-old question of freedom in a new and unique way. He shows that, by considering our own activity of thinking, we can realize the reasons for why we act. And if these reasons are taken from the realm of our ideals, our actions are free, because only we determine them.

ABOUT  Welcome to the new website design. This website, since 2005, examines Rudolf Steiner's early work (pre-1900 before he turned to the language of theosophy to explain things) 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.

PROGRESSIVE PHILOSOPHY
In a 1918 lecture (link) Rudolf Steiner states that the purpose of his Philosophy of Freedom is to lay the foundations of ethical individualism and of a social and political life.

It is a progressive philosophy that supports improving the human condition rather than maintaining things as they are. Being 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.

Philosophy Of Freedom Videos

Video Index

The Philosophy Of Freedom book text

“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

Part 1

KNOWING
REALITY
Part 2

CREATING
REALITY

REALITY-BASED KNOWLEDGE
(universally valid cognitive ideas of science)

ETHICALLY-BASED ACTION
(individually valid ethical ideas of action)

Ethical Individualism Anchored In A Science Of Freedom (3 videos)
Difference Between Part 1 and Part 2 Of The Philosophy Of Freedom (1 video)
Meet The Study Group - Twelve World Outlooks (1 video)

0. Preface
     STRIVING FOR INDIVIDUALITY (6 videos)
1. Conscious Human Action
    STRIVING FOR FREEDOM (12 videos)
14. Individuality And Genus
      FREE INDIVIDUALITY
2. The Desire For Knowledge
    STRIVING FOR KNOWLEDGE
13. The Value Of Life
      STRIVING FOR ETHICAL IDEALS
3. Thinking As The Instrument Of Knowledge
    FREE THINKING
12. Moral Imagination
      CREATIVE ETHICAL ACTION
4. The World As Perception
    PERCEPTION BIAS
11. World Purpose And Life Purpose
      LIVING A PURPOSEFUL LIFE
5. Knowing The World
    CONCEPTUAL INTUITION
10. Freedom Philosophy And Monism 
      ETHICAL HUMANISM
6. Human Individuality
    INDIVIDUAL REPRESENTATION OF REALITY
 9. The Idea Of Freedom
      FREE ACTION
7. Are There Limits To Knowing?
    REALITY-BASED KNOWLEDGE
 8. The Factors Of Life
      REALITY-BASED PERSONALITY
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How to approach The Philosophy of Freedom?

I've been trying to read the Philosophy of Freedom on and off for a few years, but until now I've never really made what I would say is a serious effort to penetrate the materials. For instance, I don't get too concerned if I've catch myself having zoned out several times during the same passage. Rather, I move on and hope that it will sink in by osmosis ... somehow. 

This approach hasn't been an entire failure because I keep coming back to this text, and every once in awhile I'll read something that makes my heart soar and inspirers me to keep going. This morning, for example, I was listening to one of the last few chapters (thank you, Dale Brunsvold) and the description how the "free spirit" singles out an appropriate action reminded of what Thomas Aquinas said about Angels; namely, that each angel is his own specie. Utterly unique and irreplaceable. And just for a moment, I caught a glimpse of whom we are being asked to become. 

Just for a moment.

On the other hand, the approach I've taken is not working entirely well so I'm soliciting suggestions as to how to proceed differently as part of a serious study. In the extreme, I could spend a year on the first 5 or 6 chapters alone, and still feel that the text is much more profound than I'm realizing.

Perhaps the middle ground is that I plow through, making sure that I don't leave a section until I have at least attempted to penetrate it seriously, but don't allow myself to get stalled indefinitely.

Then there is the question of which other texts and exercises (Jügen Strube's thought exercises as well as making the effort to write our own chapter summaries) to incorporate as we go along.

I realize that everyone has to find the way that works best for him or her, but I would be curious to hear what approaches have worked for others in this group.

regards,
susan
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  • I may stop making videos for a while to work on another project. That would be to do a revised Hoernle translation of the Philosophy Of Freedom that is easier to read.

  • Each study group member expresses a different world-view. Added brief descriptions to the World Outlook page.

  • Added a new page link to the "Book Text" page called Conflict Between Heart and Intellect

  • Added a basic observation of thinking exercise here.

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